Who am I?

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:41 am

Are you the thinker of thoughts?
Most thoughts arise without me intending them, and I can see that I am not the thinker of them. They feel like they're "mine", but in the same way that body sensations do, and I can now see that feeling as just another sensation (which I couldn't before, so thanks!)

If I consciously decide to think a thought, however, e.g. I decide to count to ten, then it still feels like I am the thinker of those thoughts: it seems to be me that counts from one to ten.
How do you think a thought?
How do you make it happen?
I form the intention to do it, I feel a sensation of effort and tensing, and then it happens, accompanied by tensing in my throat and the experience of hearing the thought in the area of my ears. I can't say more than that.
When you say thoughts are mine, then where is this me that owns thoughts?
Is the owner is the mislabelled sensation called ‘sense of self’?
Where is the owner?
The sense of self is behind my eyes. It feels like it owns my thoughts, but I can see that that is just a sensation. With most thoughts, I can see that the sense of self is not producing them.

Thoughts that I produce deliberately, though (e.g. counting from one to ten) still feel very much like they are owned and created by the sense of self. I can't say how it creates them, except that I can feel the slight sense of effort or tensing that I mentioned above.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:08 pm

Hi Michael,
I
form the intention to do it, I feel a sensation of effort and tensing, and then it happens, accompanied by tensing in my throat and the experience of hearing the thought in the area of my ears. I can't say more than that.
OK, but we have to look deeper than that :)

You say “I form the intention to think” – but how do you form an intention?
Please write down the step-by-step process of how you form an intention.


But be careful that you don’t write from thinking it through.
Rather sit, and form an intention (literally), and while you do it, watch like a hawk and observe how you do it exactly.
I feel a sensation of effort and tensing
Ok. So sometimes with thinking there is a seeming effort and tensing of the facial muscles.
But do you make effort and tensing of the muscles happen, or efforting and testing is just happening on their own?
accompanied by tensing in my throat
So when thinking the vocal cords in the throat are often tense, as if there were actual talking going on.
But the question is, are you the one who is tensing and moving the vocal cords, or the vocal cords move on their own, automatically?
The sense of self is behind my eyes. It feels like it owns my thoughts, but I can see that that is just a sensation. With most thoughts, I can see that the sense of self is not producing them.
Please stay with this sensation that is being labelled as ‘sense of self’.
Feel this sensation. But please drop all names and labels. Just stay with it as if it were a new phenomenon you’ve just discovered and you have no name for it.

What do you discover about this sensation, as a sensation only, without names and labels?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:00 pm

You say “I form the intention to think” – but how do you form an intention?
Please write down the step-by-step process of how you form an intention.
I can't really form an intention - it just appears. If I think "I'll count to 10", then that thought appeared without my volition or control.
But do you make effort and tensing of the muscles happen, or efforting and testing is just happening on their own?
The effort and tensing follow my thinking "I'll count to 10". That's all I know.
But the question is, are you the one who is tensing and moving the vocal cords, or the vocal cords move on their own, automatically?
Again, all I can say is that the movement and tensing follows my thinking "I'll count to 10".
What do you discover about this sensation, as a sensation only, without names and labels?
It might be made up of various parts - a kind of somatic feeling, together with mental labelling, and maybe a mental image. But I find it hard to tell.

Also, I noticed that actually my thoughts and external sounds appear in the same place - where my ears are. Which was interesting.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:26 am

Hi Michael,

You previously wrote this:
If I consciously decide to think a thought, however, e.g. I decide to count to ten, then it still feels like I am the thinker of those thoughts: it seems to be me that counts from one to ten.
What would you say to this now?

Are you the thinker of ANY thought?
Or all thoughts, without exception, happen on their own, without you doing anything?


Please make sure that you actually check this out in experience, and don't just reply from memory.
V: But do you make effort and tensing of the muscles happen, or efforting and testing is just happening on their own?
M: The effort and tensing follow my thinking "I'll count to 10". That's all I know.
V: But the question is, are you the one who is tensing and moving the vocal cords, or the vocal cords move on their own, automatically?
M: Again, all I can say is that the movement and tensing follows my thinking "I'll count to 10".
Please investigate if you are doing these things, or they happen on their own.

What is not automatic?
Is there anything that needs your doing and doesn’t happen on their own, automatically?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:17 pm

Are you the thinker of ANY thought?
Or all thoughts, without exception, happen on their own, without you doing anything?
The thoughts that I consciously decide to think still feel like I am thinking them, because I can choose WHEN to think them: if I think, "I'll count to 10", then I can delay doing it for a while. When I finally start to do it, it feels like I decided to start thinking "1...2...3" at that exact moment.
What is not automatic?
Is there anything that needs your doing and doesn’t happen on their own, automatically?
The actual thinking still doesn't feel automatic. The tensing, efforting, and movement of vocal cords that go along with the thinking do feel automatic, in that when I think the thought they happen alongside it without me intending them, being able to control them, or being able NOT to do them.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:48 am

Hi Michael,
The thoughts that I consciously decide to think still feel like I am thinking them, because I can choose WHEN to think them:
So the belief is that the thought of “I am going to think now” or “not now”, or “later” is your doing.

But are you actually making the ‘when’ thought appear? Or the timing also happens on its own?
I think, "I'll count to 10", then I can delay doing it for a while.
Are you 100% sure that thoughts about delaying is your doing?
What if the thoughts of delaying also happen on their own too?


Just look, watch like a hawk to see if you are actually make the thoughts of delaying or ‘when’ to happen.
thought they happen alongside it without me intending them
How do you intend a thought to think?

Describe to me THE intent itself, without adding anything extra. Just the raw intent itself.


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:35 pm

But are you actually making the ‘when’ thought appear? Or the timing also happens on its own?
It's often not really a verbal thought - more a sort of non-verbal intending. But I don't do anything to make it appear. It appears on its own.
Are you 100% sure that thoughts about delaying is your doing?
What if the thoughts of delaying also happen on their own too?
Again, they're often not verbalised. But again, they happen on their own. I don't know why I start counting to 10 at a certain point.
How do you intend a thought to think?

Describe to me THE intent itself, without adding anything extra. Just the raw intent itself.
They are sometimes verbal thoughts. But often they aren't. Those are hard to describe. It maybe feels kind of physical - my attention shifts up into the space behind my eyes, and I can feel my vocal chords getting ready to move, and there's a non-verbal awareness of what I'm about to do. And then either I follow through and think the thought I was intending to think, or another non-verbal thinking process inhibits it, and it stops.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:37 am

Hi Michael,
And then either I follow through and think the thought I was intending to think, or another non-verbal thinking process inhibits it, and it stops.
But are you the one who follow through an intention? Are you doing it, or it happens on its own?
Are you the one who thinks?

Are you the one who intends? Or thoughts about intention happen on their own?


Michael, you are making it more completed than it is. There is no such thing as non-verbal thinking inhibiting and stopping thinking.

This is just another thought that appears on its own. Can you see this?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:44 pm

But are you the one who follow through an intention? Are you doing it, or it happens on its own?
Are you the one who thinks?

Are you the one who intends? Or thoughts about intention happen on their own?
No, I do not make any of this happen. The intention arises on its own, and then the following through happens on its own.
Michael, you are making it more completed than it is. There is no such thing as non-verbal thinking inhibiting and stopping thinking.

This is just another thought that appears on its own. Can you see this?
I might have expressed myself poorly here. I was saying that I might think, "I'm going to count to 10", feel tension in my vocal cords, but then think, "Actually, no, I won't count to 10 just yet", and feel the tension in my vocal cords abate. And I was saying that these two thoughts are kind of non-verbal: I don't hear them as words; rather I just know that I'm intending to count to 10, or not count to 10.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:21 am

Hi Michael,
I might have expressed myself poorly here. I was saying that I might think, "I'm going to count to 10", feel tension in my vocal cords, but then think, "Actually, no, I won't count to 10 just yet", and feel the tension in my vocal cords abate. And I was saying that these two thoughts are kind of non-verbal: I don't hear them as words; rather I just know that I'm intending to count to 10, or not count to 10.
But do you see that there is still a doer lurking here “I just know that I am intending”?
So there is still the impression of an I intending to count.

Let’s look at a different scenario.

Make an intention about something (like intending to stand up, walk, do the dishes, put something aside, etc.), but before you do that, check out if you can know in advance what the intention will be, BEFORE the thought of it arise.


Do this as often as possible during the day, 50+ times. And even when it seems pretty clear, please look more. This needs to really sink in.

Let me know what happens.

Note: I sent you a private message yesterday. You can access it through the ‘private message’ link, which is at the top of the right corner of the page, under the liberation unleashed banner.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:09 pm

But do you see that there is still a doer lurking here “I just know that I am intending”?
So there is still the impression of an I intending to count.

Yes indeed, but this is again partly the fault of language. When I look closely, I can see that the intention just arises, without "me" doing anything. So when I write using conventional language, using terms like "I", that doesn't really capture what I'm trying to say. That said, though, I guess it does still feel a bit like it's MY intention.
Make an intention about something (like intending to stand up, walk, do the dishes, put something aside, etc.), but before you do that, check out if you can know in advance what the intention will be, BEFORE the thought of it arise.
Okay so when the thought arises, "what shall I do next?", then another thought will appear, suggesting something. And I have no idea in advance what that suggestion will be. And then I might act on the suggestion, or I might not. And what happens in between the suggestion arising and me taking action (or not) remains a bit mysterious.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:48 am

Hi Michael,

You did a nice investigation.

Previously you wrote this about thoughts, particularly to count from one to ten.
able to control them, or being able NOT to do them.
Does it still FEEL that you have control over thoughts in general?

Does it still FEEL that you have control over not to count?
Does it feel that counting is your doing?

Do you have any control when to start, stop, finish, do or not do it?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:29 pm

Does it still FEEL that you have control over thoughts in general?
Does it still FEEL that you have control over not to count?
Does it feel that counting is your doing?

Do you have any control when to start, stop, finish, do or not do it?
I can see that when I have the thought, "Maybe I'll count to 10", I have no idea whether or not I will actually count to 10, or when I will do it.

Then I feel my vocal cords tense, and I feel an urge to start counting.

But if I have another thought about NOT counting, then I don't start.

Then I might have another thought about counting, and I feel like I might start to count.

...and so on. And at some point, after having a thought about counting, I might start to count. But I have no idea why I start counting after THAT thought, rather than another one. And I can see that I am not choosing to have the thoughts about counting and not counting.

When I am actually counting to 10, though, it does feel as though it's ME doing it.

As for thoughts in general, when I am paying attention (e.g. when meditating), it doesn't really feel like I'm doing the thinking. When I am going about my business at other times, though, it often does feel like I'm doing the thinking, unless I pause and pay attention.

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Vivien
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:10 am

Hi Michael,
When I am actually counting to 10, though, it does feel as though it's ME doing it.
OK, let’s focus on this.

Start counting, and watch like a hawk for this FEELING of ‘me doing it’.

Where does this FEELING appear in the body?

What kind of feeling is this?

What is the exact feeling of ‘I am doing it’?


Experiment with this as often as you can. And not just with counting, but any time during the day something feels that “it’s my doing, I am doing it’.

Let me know what you find.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Iznick
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Iznick » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:30 pm

Where does this FEELING appear in the body?

What kind of feeling is this?

What is the exact feeling of ‘I am doing it’?
When I am deliberately counting (or deliberately saying the metta phrases from Buddhism - not sure if you are familiar with them - which is what I often do instead of counting), all I can notice is:

My attention is right up in my head, behind my eyes. And maybe I can feel a kind of wave of slight sensation within my head. And of course I can feel my vocal cords move slightly. It always feels kind of solid and dense in that area behind the eyes, whether I am deliberately thinking or not, and that solid density feels kind of like "me".

There is a distinctive feeling of "I am doing it", but it's very hard to pin it down or describe it. It just feels like...I am doing it.

It seems like the movement of the vocal cords makes this form of thinking feel particularly like I am doing it - it's so similar to speech, which feels very much like something that I am in control of.

In general, the strongest feelings of "me" are associated with this strong awareness of the area behind the eyes, where things feel solid and dense.


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