Guide Request

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:37 pm

Hi Vivien,
It’s important to mention that we are not aiming for the illusion of the doer to completely stop. It’s enough to see it for what it is, just an appearance. Remember, this is just the beginning, not the end. Don’t expect a final stabilization (yet). That would require lots of further looking and time.
I'm glad you clarified this, as actually I was indeed assuming that the aim was for the illusion of the doer to completely stop. Good chance I would have just kept trying, and trying, and trying again, until I went mad or got there :)


I was happy to do the set of questions below again. As the first time a week or two ago I struggled with it: it was a lot to take in & a bit tricky. And in some cases I was relying too much on intellect. Especially the part about who the me-character is. Now it was still a lot, but I felt that it was more deeply intuitive than before.
What is the difference between a happening and a doing?
When sensations and thoughts occur in my experience, they are happening. Doing takes place in my thoughts, when a thought takes ownership over what happened.
What about sensations? Are they happening or the me-character doing them?
Sensations are just happening. The me-character does not do them.
And how about feelings? Are they something the me-character does or something that is given?
Feelings are just happening, and are given. The me-character does not do them.
Now look, what is not given?
Everything in my experience when looking is simply given.

This question was a really wonderful discovery, and now that I see it deeper I feeling like jumping very deep into it. It gives me a feeling of awe.
What is not happening effortlessly and needs your doing?
Everything in my experience is happening effortlessly, and doesn't need my doing.
Is there anything that is not just spontaneously arising?
Everything in my experience is just spontaneously arising, without me doing anything.
Is the me-character doing anything in life? Or is the me-character given? As an idea? Or as a self-directed, autonomous entity?
I can't find anything that the me-character is doing in life, except chattering away (and taking that credit). It seems to want to convince me that it is a self-directed autonomous entity. But actually I only experience it as an idea that is given, just like any other thought.

This was the question I struggled with the most before. I am more confident now than I was before.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:02 am

Hi Tom,

I was happy to do the set of questions below again. As the first time a week or two ago I struggled with it: it was a lot to take in & a bit tricky. And in some cases I was relying too much on intellect. Especially the part about who the me-character is. Now it was still a lot, but I felt that it was more deeply intuitive than before.
Yes, this inquiry is all about repetition. To look at the same thing again and again.
When sensations and thoughts occur in my experience, they are happening. Doing takes place in my thoughts, when a thought takes ownership over what happened.
When you say “in MY experience” and “in MY thoughts” – what does the word ‘my’ points to in reality?

Where is the one that is having this experience?
Where is the one that is having thoughts?
Literally search for this one.
This question was a really wonderful discovery, and now that I see it deeper I feeling like jumping very deep into it. It gives me a feeling of awe.
I’m glad to hear that :)
When there is a pointer that you feel especially drawn to it, then you can stay with that pointer for days.
I can't find anything that the me-character is doing in life, except chattering away (and taking that credit).
So the me-character is chattering? The me-character is the ‘voice in the head’?
Where is the me-character that is talking ‘in the head’?
Where is the talker or a chatterer?
It seems to want to convince me that it is a self-directed autonomous entity.
The me-character wants to convince you? Are you sure about this?

So there are two entities there:
- you
- and the me-character who is talking to you?

How may selves do you have?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:43 pm

Hi Vivien,

Some of today's questions were tough, but it has been a productive day.
When you say “in MY experience” and “in MY thoughts” – what does the word ‘my’ points to in reality?
It actually just points to the experience or the thought that is happening at that time.
Where is the one that is having this experience?
The one having the experience is nowhere to be found.
Where is the one that is having thoughts?
I also couldn't find the one having thoughts. As usual, the questions about thoughts are always a bit more difficult to look for than when I look in general experience or in the body, for example.
So the me-character is chattering? The me-character is the ‘voice in the head’?
This question irritated me a long time today. I immediately had a clear mental image of a me-character in my head chattering to a body that is me. I had to work hard, mostly by looking with sensations in the head, to get clearer on this. It's still a somewhat tricky one. It feels so much like there are voices actually located in my head.
Where is the me-character that is talking ‘in the head’?
Same as the above. I had to work hard on this. Ultimately though I cannot find a me-character talking in the head.
Where is the talker or a chatterer?
I also cannot find a talker or a chatterer.
The me-character wants to convince you? Are you sure about this?
I'm glad you caught this one. It is very interesting to observe that I am not able to find a me-character that is trying to convince me. Seems rather obvious now, but it was not at the beginning of the day.
So there are two entities there:
- you
- and the me-character who is talking to you?
How may selves do you have?
Another revelation here. I cannot find any selves at all, let alone a me and a me-character talking to it. I'm going to also work with this one a bit more.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:51 am

Hi Tom,
As usual, the questions about thoughts are always a bit more difficult to look for than when I look in general experience or in the body, for example.
Yes, it’s usually harder, but looking at thoughts is the most important part of the inquiry, since the illusion is mainly created by thoughts.
It feels so much like there are voices actually located in my head.
Let’s look at this.

Are thoughts actually appearing inside the head? Is this really true?
Find the exact location where thoughts supposedly appear. Where is that location?
What is the experiential proof for thoughts appearing in the head?


Just stay with this for a whole day. Investigate this as often as you can.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:14 pm

Hi Vivien,

It was again a day with a lot of work. The exercises at first seemed almost intimidating, as if thoughts were a formidable foe. By the end of the day I was doing better and felt some progress, almost regretting that I'll move to another exercise next.
Are thoughts actually appearing inside the head? Is this really true?
I cannot say it's true that thought are actually appearing inside the head. It still can feel quite convincing that they are, but I see more clearly than before that this I cannot prove this true experientially.
Find the exact location where thoughts supposedly appear. Where is that location?
Three answers to this question commonly come up:
1. Sensations somewhere in the head
2. The sensation (or perhaps more like an awareness) of having a whole head
3. A visual thought that depicted an imaginary space between my ears where thoughts emerge

It took quite some time before I started seeing the differences between these, and even now at the end of the day the distinction between them isn't always clear. I am sometimes still fooled by the third one.
What is the experiential proof for thoughts appearing in the head?
I have no experiential proof for thoughts appearing in the head.

When looking I sometimes wonder what the best approach is: Whether to ask the question and just see what arises, or to ask the question and then actively look. I especially have this question when I am looking for thoughts, since they are trickier for me to spot. And if I actively look too hard, then not many thoughts come up since I am focused elsewhere. So it is hard to find a balance between spotting thoughts and not trying too actively.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:39 am

Hi Tom,
I cannot say it's true that thought are actually appearing inside the head. It still can feel quite convincing that they are, but I see more clearly than before that this I cannot prove this true experientially.
And what makes it so convincing? The mental image of a head and thoughts being depicted to be inside this head?
Or that when thinking happens, there are muscle tensions in some part of the head, like in the forehead, face and eyes?
Three answers to this question commonly come up:
1. Sensations somewhere in the head
2. The sensation (or perhaps more like an awareness) of having a whole head
Is there such thing as the awareness of the whole head? Or is this just a story on the experience of sensations?
Is there anything else to the head than sensations?
3. A visual thought that depicted an imaginary space between my ears where thoughts emerge
And is this image appear inside the head? Or this image has no location whatsoever?
When looking I sometimes wonder what the best approach is: Whether to ask the question and just see what arises, or to ask the question and then actively look.
It’s about actively searching, looking. If you just ask and wait something to arise, then what will arise are your beliefs, how you believe things to be.
I especially have this question when I am looking for thoughts, since they are trickier for me to spot. And if I actively look too hard, then not many thoughts come up since I am focused elsewhere. So it is hard to find a balance between spotting thoughts and not trying too actively.
Are you sure that not many thoughts come up when looking for thoughts? Or you just don’t notice them, since you are focusing on something else?

Is it possible to actively look but without over-efforting?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:21 pm

Hi Vivien,

The pointers today were great! It really opened up a lot, thank you.
And what makes it so convincing? The mental image of a head and thoughts being depicted to be inside this head?
Or that when thinking happens, there are muscle tensions in some part of the head, like in the forehead, face and eyes?
I am almost certain that the reason I am convinced thoughts are in the head is because of the muscle tension I feel when thinking happens. And the more I practice with it the more I see it.
Is there such thing as the awareness of the whole head? Or is this just a story on the experience of sensations?
Is there anything else to the head than sensations?
I also could not find an awareness of the whole head (even though I previously thought I could). I can only find sensations. So actually, as far as I can tell: experientially I don't seem to have a head. Interesting.
And is this image appear inside the head? Or this image has no location whatsoever?
On many occasions during the day the image really appeared to be inside the head. When I looked closely though, I noticed this came together with the feeling of muscle tension in the head. So it seemed that because of the tension, my attention went to my head (not because that's where the thought was located). This was and still is often a bit unclear though, or difficult to see. It is easier to see when I'm feeling very relaxed - like now for example, just before bed. So at this moment most images do not feel like they have a location.
It’s about actively searching, looking. If you just ask and wait something to arise, then what will arise are your beliefs, how you believe things to be.
This is good to know, also because it means I've been doing it right so far: most of the time I've been actively looking. It's only when looking for thoughts that I sometimes wonder if waiting would be more effective. So now I know that's not necessary.
Are you sure that not many thoughts come up when looking for thoughts? Or you just don’t notice them, since you are focusing on something else?
I now see that when looking for thoughts, I tend to start looking around in the body & sensations. Which means I am focusing on something else other than thoughts. And therefore the likely reason I don't notice them.

This knowledge though does not make it easier though. Looking for thoughts still remains tricky, as they feel elusive.
Is it possible to actively look but without over-efforting?
I practiced a lot with this one today, as I think I am over-efforting when looking. And actually, throughout my everyday life too. Just trying too damn hard.

I am sometimes able to actively look without over-efforting. In these cases, it is more like a subtle shift in attention, rather than exertion of a lot of muscle strength. At the moment, I've experienced some of the possibilities, but haven't broken the habit.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:26 am

Hi Tom,

You did a nice investigation :)
I am almost certain that the reason I am convinced thoughts are in the head is because of the muscle tension I feel when thinking happens. And the more I practice with it the more I see it.
Yes. This how it is for almost all of us. When thinking happens there are muscle tensions in various parts of the face/head and this gives the impression as if thoughts were actually happening or appearing inside the head.
I also could not find an awareness of the whole head (even though I previously thought I could). I can only find sensations. So actually, as far as I can tell: experientially I don't seem to have a head. Interesting.
And what about the whole body?
If you close your eyes and ignore all verbal and visual thoughts, what is the experience of the body, here now?

Is there anything to the body than sensations?

And is there a boarder or an edge to this body-sensation?
Can you find where does it end and the outside world begins?

Is there an experience of inside and outside?
Inside of what? And outside of what?

I now see that when looking for thoughts, I tend to start looking around in the body & sensations.
Can you find a body apart from sensations?
I am sometimes able to actively look without over-efforting. In these cases, it is more like a subtle shift in attention, rather than exertion of a lot of muscle strength.
Look at this closely.

Is the tensing of muscles contribute to looking?
Can looking be achieved by tensing the muscles?
Is there any link between the two?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:54 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thanks again for the great skype session today! I'm glad we did it.
And what about the whole body?
If you close your eyes and ignore all verbal and visual thoughts, what is the experience of the body, here now?
If I ignore thoughts, then the experience of the body is only shifting sensations.
Is there anything to the body than sensations?
I experience the body only as sensations.

I also originally thought that I was able to feel the body as a whole (as I had thought about my 'whole' head), but very quickly realised through looking that this was of course not the case.
And is there a boarder or an edge to this body-sensation?
Can you find where does it end and the outside world begins?
I cannot find a border or edge to this body-sensation. It's hard to describe, but it's as if the sensations just fade away, without there being a precise edge. I also cannot find where the body-sensations ends and the outside world begins. It is only sensation.
Is there an experience of inside and outside?
Inside of what? And outside of what?
There is no experience of inside and outside. I can see this very clearly with body sensations. It is more difficult with hearing and seeing though. Then I sometimes believe an illusion that there is an eye looking out at something at a certain distance from me, or an ear hearing something from a certain direction away from it. However, I really slow down and look close, I can see that this is either an imagination, or that my attention is very fast switching between bodily sensations (around the eye, for example, when seeing) and the seeing itself. At least, that is where I am at now. Curious to hear if I am on the right track.
Can you find a body apart from sensations?
No! I cannot find a body apart from sensations.
Is the tensing of muscles contribute to looking?
Can looking be achieved by tensing the muscles?
Is there any link between the two?
It is getting easier for me to differentiate between the tensing of muscles and looking, such that I now see there is no link between the two. I see that the tensing of muscles does not contribute to or achieve looking.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:38 am

Hi Tom,
Thanks again for the great skype session today! I'm glad we did it.
I’m glad you’ve found it useful :)
I also originally thought that I was able to feel the body as a whole (as I had thought about my 'whole' head), but very quickly realised through looking that this was of course not the case.
Yes, nice observation. The body is never present as a whole.
There is no experience of inside and outside. I can see this very clearly with body sensations. It is more difficult with hearing and seeing though. Then I sometimes believe an illusion that there is an eye looking out at something at a certain distance from me, or an ear hearing something from a certain direction away from it. However, I really slow down and look close, I can see that this is either an imagination, or that my attention is very fast switching between bodily sensations (around the eye, for example, when seeing) and the seeing itself. At least, that is where I am at now. Curious to hear if I am on the right track.
Yes, it’s harder to notice this with seeing and hearing. There is something important here. We are not aiming to change how the body and the world is experienced, we are just investigating how reality actually is, compared to how we believe it to be. So please don’t expect that the experience of the body or the world should change.

We normally believe that we are inside of this body, and looking out of the eyes, like through two windows, and observing the world out there.
So we are here inside the body and the world is out there (outside the body).

Right? Is this how you feel yourself to be? Looking out through the eyes, observing the world out there?


Please look at the display before you.

Now, could you tell me where you are looking at it FROM?
WHAT is there? Is there a ‘me’ or a looker / seer in that direction? What do you find there?

Experiment with this many times throughout the day.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:23 pm

Hi Vivien,
There is something important here. We are not aiming to change how the body and the world is experienced, we are just investigating how reality actually is, compared to how we believe it to be. So please don’t expect that the experience of the body or the world should change.
This is a good distinction to know. I think this belief explains at least some of my effort-efforting: looking very hard with the expectation that experience should change.
Right? Is this how you feel yourself to be? Looking out through the eyes, observing the world out there?
Yes, I feel myself to be looking through the eyes, and observing a world that's out there.
Now, could you tell me where you are looking at it FROM?
When I look in my experience FROM, I just find bodily-sensations. My attention especially goes around my eyes and other parts of my face.
WHAT is there? Is there a ‘me’ or a looker / seer in that direction? What do you find there?
When I look for a me or a looker / seeker there, I only find the seeing that is happening. Often my attention goes back and forth between that seeing and the bodily sensations. Sometimes it also seems like I notice both the seeing and bodily sensations at the same time, but I'm not sure about that. Either way, though, I don't find anything else.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:25 am

Hi Tom,
Yes, I feel myself to be looking through the eyes, and observing a world that's out there.
Let’s look at this a bit more.

You say “I feel myself to be looking through the eyes” – so please focus on this FEELING of myself.

What is it that is actually be felt there?

Is that location Tom?
Or is that where Tom resides?

Is that location where decisions happen?
Is that location where thinking happen?
Is that location where the whole body is felt from?

Often my attention goes back and forth between that seeing and the bodily sensations. Sometimes it also seems like I notice both the seeing and bodily sensations at the same time, but I'm not sure about that
Yes. And this is how the illusion of me being inside the head is created.
Since when seeing happens, there are sensations inside the head and around the eyes happening at the same time, which gives a reality effect of there being actual me looking.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:14 pm

Hi Vivien,
You say “I feel myself to be looking through the eyes” – so please focus on this FEELING of myself.
What is it that is actually be felt there?
When I look closely at the feeling of myself, I actually only find sensations. It was extremely satisfying when this clicked in to place! It is now very obvious, although it was surprisingly difficult at first.
Is that location Tom?
Or is that where Tom resides?
I also do not find Tom here, or the location where Tom resides.

This one was a little less clear for me than the previous questions. 'Tom' appears sort of monolithic and abstract compared to 'feeling of myself', which appears softer and more accessible/clear.
Is that location where decisions happen?
Is that location where thinking happen?
Is that location where the whole body is felt from?
When looking closely for the location where decisions happen, thinking happens and the body is felt from, I only find sensations. With all three questions there was a very strong felt sense of this being the location where they all happen.

Although I focused on all these questions in relation to 'looking through the eyes', I also found it interesting to experiment with other locations in the body that came up when I focused on the 'feeling of myself'. This seemed to help solidify the looking.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:22 am

Hi Tom,
This one was a little less clear for me than the previous questions. 'Tom' appears sort of monolithic and abstract compared to 'feeling of myself', which appears softer and more accessible/clear.
Good :)

So is there such thing as ‘myself’?
Does this word points to an actual ‘my-self’ in reality?

What is the FELT sense of Tom?
What is the FELT sense of me?


Just notice, here and now, the feeling and sensations called Tom / me.
Just hold this feeling, be with it like it's some new phenomenon for which you have no name.

What do you discover about the feeling, as a feeling only?

Is this feeling the author of internal commentary?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:58 pm

Hi Vivien,

It was a good day of looking today, although I hope I'm clear enough in my explanations below. I will try!
So is there such thing as ‘myself’?
Does this word points to an actual ‘my-self’ in reality?
Searching for myself only shows sensations and thoughts. So I do not actually find a 'my-self' in reality.
What is the FELT sense of Tom?
What is the FELT sense of me?
Here I wasn't sure if you meant 'felt sense' as in the bodily sensations I feel, or the more general feeling or impression that I get when looking for 'Tom' or 'me'. (On other occasions too I've found it difficult to understand what the actual distinction is between sensations and feelings).

In any case though, I observed both the bodily sensations and the feelings. So at the beginning of the day 'Tom' and 'me' had different feelings / impressions. That is, the 'Tom' felt more like an abstract label and the 'me' felt more personal and closer to me. At this time the bodily sensations were less at the forefront, and these feelings / impressions were more dominant. As the day progressed, the sensations came more to the forefront and also more clear, and the feelings / impressions associated with 'Tom' and 'me' became less noticeable.
Just notice, here and now, the feeling and sensations called Tom / me.
Just hold this feeling, be with it like it's some new phenomenon for which you have no name.
What do you discover about the feeling, as a feeling only?
It felt very good to look in this way, holding it with curiosity. This was more gentle than my typical looking, which sometimes feels aggressive or over-efforting. I still sometimes slipped back into the typical approach, but overall it is very possible to hold it in this way.

The bodily sensations change from one to another, and along with it there's an overall feeling of lightness and relaxation. This is also often combined with the kind of automaticness like what we were observing a week or two ago. When looking this way, it sometimes seems like I am putting in so little effort that I'm not sure if I'm actually actively looking or not.
Is this feeling the author of internal commentary?
I found nothing to indicate that this feeling is the author of internal commentary. It actually often seemed like there was a kind of distance between the flowing sensations and the passing commentary.

Tom


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