Emptiness

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:23 am

Hi Gerd,

Apologies for the delay, I thought I had posted but apparently not.....

AE is simply the raw experience of colour, sound, smell, taste, sensation and the face value of thought.
What is meant by “face value”? The dictionary says: apparent value. Is this correct?


It means the raw experience of thought without being in the story.....

Have you ever looked at white clouds in a blue sky, and seen shapes, maybe animals? The raw experience is just colour, but thought 'creates' animals.

Have you ever had someone speak to you in a language you don't understand... you hear the sound, but there is no meaning....

You hear the label 'light switch' in your head, recognise the arising of that thought, but no need to go into the meaning.

Or you see an image in your head, which like the sky and clouds is really just colour (raw experience) but you interpret it to be something, or have a meaning....

A bit like the raw experience of watching TV is just colour. There are no real people or cars or houses, just colour being blended (on a screen).

Close your eyes, imagine a fruit you really love. For me it's a delicious, sweet, juicy peach.

Imagine it as clearly as you can. See its colour, touch its downy, soft skin, smell that delicious peachy aroma.

Imagine biting into the soft flesh and feeling the flavour explode across your tongue as the juice runs down your chin.

Are you imagining it?

Now open your eyes.

Is there a peach, was there ever?

In this example, no matter how vivid it may have seemed, was thought pointing to actual experience, or was thought pointing to simply other thoughts, which includes the mental image of a peach?




Do you experience the naming of that object? Maybe a voice speaking in the head or something?
That is thought labelling (being experienced)......
Can you see that?
Yes, I can see the labelling.


Great, that is you experiencing a thought. Thoughts and labels are one and the same. You are confusing a stream of thoughts which = thinking, but a stream of thoughts is still made up of thoughts.


Do you see an image in the mind? That is thought as a mental image?
Do you still think there is nothing to be experienced?
Yes, I can see the image in the mind. The experience of smelling, hearing…. is different from seeing the image. But I can call this seeing also an experience.


So there is a thought(s) that says, "The experience of smelling, hearing…. is different from seeing the image. But I can call this seeing also an experience."

But that is going into the story. Remember you are just being asked what you find (without going into thoughts about it). Do you see an image or not? No need to move into an analysis of it.

Even the word 'experience' is an interpretation. Just see that you find. Remember, it's smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour and observed thoughts. Nothing else.



So, we can say, that in actual experience, the arising of a thought (the container) is real, but what it’s ABOUT, the content, is not. The thought (as container) is there in reality, but the content of a thought is fiction.
Do you see the difference?
Yes, I can agree with this, there is a thought in reality but the content is fiction.


Yes, great. Try to notice the thoughts that are arising as you go through your day. We are often caught in the story even when we don't realise it.


How do you mean the 'experience'. The experience of what exactly? And why write (mind) after sound?
Yes, this was not very precise, sorry: So, the only two things there are, are the experience of the sound and the mind telling it’s the sound of a car.


There is sound, yes. Why the need to write 'experience'?

And you are talking about mind again. The mind is not found in AE. Thought is found. Mind is label which points to thought but it is not found in AE. That is why we asked the next question.

The label ‘mind’ is AE of thought and not AE of a mind

Where in colour, sound, smell, taste and sensation can a ‘mind’ be found? Can the mind, like the imaginary peach be found, or only thoughts about a mind? Can a mind be found anywhere, ever?

Does the thought/label ‘mind’ actually contain a mind, or is it simply a thought; therefore only points to AE of thought?


Thoughts, in and of themselves, do not contain any experience, if they did then the word ‘hot’ would feel hot, and the thought ‘sweet’ would taste sweet.



Where is the 'mind' located exactly?
I don’t know… somewhere where thinking happens… in the brain?


You are not looking, you are thinking and thinking is not the tool to use here. Shifting from thinking to looking can be frustrating and require some practice. This is about noticing what can be found in your immediate actual experience, noticing what's going on here now ie sound, colour, smell, taste, sensation and face value of thought.

The question is asked to get you to look, Can you look in your direct actual experience and find the mind? Or do you just find thought?

To say, 'somewhere where thinking happens… in the brain' is not experiential, but ideas/concepts you have learned. Here you have gone into the story of thought, which earlier you agreed was fiction....

What does the word/label ‘brain’ point to? Does it point to colour, smell, taste, sound, sensation or thought?


Please describe in precise detail what this 'mind' looks like.
As I cannot look at “mind”, like looking at a table or a house, I cannot describe it.


Because you cannot find it perhaps?


But the meaning of the thoughts is story, not AE. In AE there is just sound + the Face Value of Thought.
Does that make sense?
Yes, it does make sense. Just to clarify: with “the face value of thought” you mean the container of the thought?


Yes, as per my earlier answer, I hope this is clearer.

I would really encourage you to repeat the exercise. If there is anything else other than the sound and the thought-label, please check if this is not just an idea about what is happening, rather than AE. See what you find.


Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:35 pm

Hi Aragon,
Is there a peach, was there ever?
No, there is no peach.
In this example, no matter how vivid it may have seemed, was thought pointing to actual experience, or was thought pointing to simply other thoughts, which includes the mental image of a peach?
Thought was pointing to other thoughts.
Why the need to write 'experience'?
Because the sound is experienced.
Where in colour, sound, smell, taste and sensation can a ‘mind’ be found? Can the mind, like the imaginary peach be found, or only thoughts about a mind? Can a mind be found anywhere, ever?
A ‚mind‘ cannot be found in colour, sound…. There can only be thoughts about the mind. Mind cannot be found.
Does the thought/label ‘mind’ actually contain a mind, or is it simply a thought; therefore only points to AE of thought?
The thought/label ‘mind’ doesn’t contain a mind, it’s just a thought.
The question is asked to get you to look, Can you look in your direct actual experience and find the mind? Or do you just find thought?
No, I cannot experience mind. I just find thought.
What does the word/label ‘brain’ point to? Does it point to colour, smell, taste, sound, sensation or thought?
The word ‘brain’ points to thought.
Because you cannot find it perhaps?
Yes, it cannot be found and ‘mind’ is a label.
I would really encourage you to repeat the exercise. If there is anything else other than the sound and the thought-label, please check if this is not just an idea about what is happening, rather than AE. See what you find.
I did the exercise again and there is only the sound and the labeling (‘sound of a car’).

Thank You, Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:15 am

Hi Gerd,

Nice answers - great looking. Does this feel clearer now?

Why the need to write 'experience'?
Because the sound is experienced.

If I asked you to look through a drawer of mixed items to find a pair of socks, when you found the socks, would you say the socks were experienced? Or would you just say you had found the socks?

Isn't it just a sound that you found? Is there a need to add the story?

Close your eyes and listen once again to a sound for a minute or so. Then look to see where sound ends and hearing begins.

Are they two separate experiences? Where does "what is known" (sound) stop, and the "knowing" of it start? In actual experience, is there a border where a sound stops, and the "knowing" of it starts? What do you find?

.................

So let's move onto a different sense.....


The interpretation of actual experience happens quickly. So while inquiring, labelling and interpretation will always appear, but it is possible to become aware of the thoughts that appear with, and overlay actual experience.

Another key component of this exploration is being able to tell the difference between actual experience and the interpretation by thought of actual experience

The following exercise points to what I mean. This is a bit like the peach questions just asked, but in greater depth.....

For this exercise you will need an apple or any other piece of fruit will do.

Image

Have a look at an apple. When ‘looking at an apple’, there's colour; a thought saying ‘apple’; and maybe a thought saying, "I'm looking at an apple."

What is known for sure is the actual experience of colour and the actual experience of thought.

What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?

Actual experience does not refer to thoughts ABOUT something…because that is only just more thought. Actual experience is sound, thought, colour, smell, taste, sensation.

Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?


While these thoughts are known, what they talk ABOUT can't be found in actual experience.

This is what is meant by ‘looking in actual experience - what you know for sure and is always here.

The label ‘apple’ is known
Taste labelled ‘apple’ is known
Colour labelled ‘apple’ is known
Sensation labelled ‘apple’ is known (when apple is touched)
Smell labelled ‘apple’ is known
Thought about/of an ‘apple’ is known

However, is an apple actually known?

Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:38 pm

Hi Aragon,
Does this feel clearer now?
Yes, it’s getting clearer. Thank You!
Isn't it just a sound that you found? Is there a need to add the story?
Yes, it’s just a sound…. No story needed.
Are they two separate experiences? Where does "what is known" (sound) stop, and the "knowing" of it start? In actual experience, is there a border where a sound stops, and the "knowing" of it starts? What do you find?
First there is the sound, then there is the labelling of the sound (thought). It is either sound or labelling. If I’m not sure about the labelling I can go back to the sound.
Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?
I don’t know if there is really an ‘apple’ here. All I can experience is colour, smell… and thoughts. ‘Apple’ cannot be found in actual experience.
However, is an apple actually known?
An apple cannot be known.

Thank You, Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:07 am

Hi Gerd,

Thanks for your answers.....

Are they two separate experiences? Where does "what is known" (sound) stop, and the "knowing" of it start? In actual experience, is there a border where a sound stops, and the "knowing" of it starts? What do you find?
First there is the sound, then there is the labelling of the sound (thought). It is either sound or labelling. If I’m not sure about the labelling I can go back to the sound.

Your answer does not relate to the question....?

The question asked nothing about the label at all...it was purely about seeing if a dividing line can be found between sound and 'hearing' ('sound experienced').

Please really try and find the dividing line. Really look.

Are they two separate experiences? Where does "what is known" (sound) stop, and the "knowing" of it start? In actual experience, is there a border where a sound stops, and the "knowing" of it starts? What do you find?

Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:31 pm

Hi Aragon,
Are they two separate experiences? Where does "what is known" (sound) stop, and the "knowing" of it start? In actual experience, is there a border where a sound stops, and the "knowing" of it starts? What do you find?
Sorry but I don’t know, what You are talking about? Sound is experienced. If this sound was experienced before it is known. If it was not experienced before (a new sound) it’s not known.

Thank You, Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:01 am

Hi Gerd,

No worries. We will leave this for now and come back to it later on.

Let's move on.....

Here is an exercise which points out the difference between actual experience and content of thought.

There are two types of thoughts:
(1) Thoughts with words “Here is cup”
(2) Visual mental images of a ‘cup’

So I invite you to do this exercise:

Think of a cup. Get a very clear picture in your mind. See clearly the size, shape, colour and volume of the cup. Notice whether it is decorated or plain. Notice whether it has a handle. Notice whether it is heavy or fragile. Get a clear picture in mind.....

Now, can you physically grasp that image of a cup?
Can you pour tea into it?
Can you drink from it?

Is there a ‘real’ cup or just an image of a cup?
Is there an appearing mental image?
Is the content of the mental image (the cup) ‘real’?



The thoughts and mental images are real (actual experience) only as arising thoughts and mental images, their ‘presence’ cannot be denied. However their contents, what are they about (like the cup) are not ‘real’, they are just fantasies. In other words, the picture/idea that thought is ‘painting’ is the content of thought and is fictional.

Can you see this?


Over the course of the next day or so, I'd like you to notice the content of thoughts. Whenever there is an arising thought or mental image, check whether its content (what it’s about) is REALLY happening, or the content is just pure imagination.

Please answer ALL questions. And let me know how it goes.

Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:27 pm

Hi Aragon,
Now, can you physically grasp that image of a cup?
Can you pour tea into it?
Can you drink from it?
No, I cannot physically grasp the image of a cup, I cannot pour tea into it and I cannot drink from it.
Is there a ‘real’ cup or just an image of a cup?
There is just an image of a cup.
Is there an appearing mental image?
Yes, there is an appearing mental image.
Is the content of the mental image (the cup) ‘real’?
No, the content is a fiction.
Can you see this?
Yes, I can see this!

Thank You, Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:11 am

Hi Gerd,

Thanks for your answers, which all seem fine...

Please remember to look over the next few days to notice the content of thoughts. Whenever there is an arising thought or mental image, check whether its content (what it’s about) is REALLY happening, or the content is just pure imagination.

The more you can do this the clearer you will become about what is real and what is imagined. Please feel free to let me know how you get on.

Before we move on:

Do you have any questions about AE - anything at all, no matter how silly the question might seem?

Because being clear about this is what will also help bring around the realisation that there is no separate self as it is thought to be.

Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:28 pm

Hi Aragon,
Please remember to look over the next few days to notice the content of thoughts.
I do this as often as possible. It’s amazing how many thoughts there are and all content is just fiction!
Do you have any questions about AE - anything at all, no matter how silly the question might seem?
This is clear so far, so there are no questions.

Thank You for Your support!
Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:46 pm

Hi Gerd,

Thank you for your reply.... let's move on....

Here is a thought exercise. Look carefully when doing this exercise and do it several times if necessary. Please answer each question individually.

Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts. Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear, without you doing anything at all.

Where are they coming from and going to?

Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
Can you predict your next thought?

Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?
Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?
Can you stop thinking a thought in the middle?

It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?


Looking forward to hearing what you find.

Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:03 pm

Hi Aragon,
Where are they coming from and going to?
I cannot see or experience where they come from and where they go to. A thought appears, stays for a while and seems to be relieved from the next thought. It’s a constant flow of thoughts, a constant change of thoughts.
Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
No, I did not do anything, the thoughts appear by themselves.
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
No, I cannot do anything to make a different thought appear.
Can you predict your next thought?
No, I cannot predict the next thought.
Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?
No, I cannot select from a range of thoughts.
Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?
No, I have no choice.
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
No, I cannot choose a thought.
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?
No, a thought cannot be prevented from appearing.
Can you stop thinking a thought in the middle?
No, I cannot stop thinking a thought.
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?
For example there is the thought of a friend, then his wife, she is working in a bakery, then she is selling good bread, last weekend I had good bread with marmalade. So from my friend to marmalade one thought seems to lead to the next thought. There seems to be a sequence. After marmalade “I’m swimming in a lake”, which apparently breaks the sequence (has nothing to do with my friend or the marmalade).

Thank You, Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:45 am

Hi Gerd,

You did some nice looking here :) Yes, thoughts just appear and that we have no control over them, and we do not choose what we think in the way we often think we do. My sense is you have a sense of that....?

Let me just ask you about this:
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?
For example there is the thought of a friend, then his wife, she is working in a bakery, then she is selling good bread, last weekend I had good bread with marmalade. So from my friend to marmalade one thought seems to lead to the next thought. There seems to be a sequence. After marmalade “I’m swimming in a lake”, which apparently breaks the sequence (has nothing to do with my friend or the marmalade).

I am not sure you fully answered this question. You say 'there seems' to be a sequence. In a way, it can seem obvious that there is a sequence. But how is that sequence known without a thought about it. Without a thought that tells you so? Do you have to go into thought to get an idea of a sequence. Is there a sequence if you do not go into a thought about it......

Try to be really clear:

It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?

Look forward to your reply.

Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala

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Gerd
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Gerd » Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:25 pm

Hi Aragon,
I am not sure you fully answered this question. You say 'there seems' to be a sequence. In a way, it can seem obvious that there is a sequence. But how is that sequence known without a thought about it. Without a thought that tells you so? Do you have to go into thought to get an idea of a sequence. Is there a sequence if you do not go into a thought about it......
I agree that sequence can only exist within a thought. And the word sequence itself points to a timeline which cannot exist in actual experience. So my thoughts say there cannot be a sequence. I did the exercise again today and all the same there still seem to be sequences like I was describing yesterday (from my friend to marmalade). So my dilemma is, that thought says it cannot be a sequence and the experience seemingly tells it’s a sequence. Or in other words: I don’t have the experience, that it’s not a sequence.

Thank You, Gerd

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Aragon
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Aragon » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:47 am

Hi Gerd,

Thanks for your answers :)
I am not sure you fully answered this question. You say 'there seems' to be a sequence. In a way, it can seem obvious that there is a sequence. But how is that sequence known without a thought about it. Without a thought that tells you so? Do you have to go into thought to get an idea of a sequence. Is there a sequence if you do not go into a thought about it......
I agree that sequence can only exist within a thought. And the word sequence itself points to a timeline which cannot exist in actual experience. So my thoughts say there cannot be a sequence. I did the exercise again today and all the same there still seem to be sequences like I was describing yesterday (from my friend to marmalade). So my dilemma is, that thought says it cannot be a sequence and the experience seemingly tells it’s a sequence. Or in other words: I don’t have the experience, that it’s not a sequence.

What you are being asked to look at is the thoughts/beliefs in order to see what actually is, as opposed to what thought says is happening.

Without thought saying so, how can it possibly be known that thoughts are appearing in sequence?

You may have Thought 1 which talks about marmalade. Thought 2 perhaps also talks about marmalade. But does it not require Thought 3 to say "Thought 1 and Thought 2 are linked?

Can the link actually be found outside of the content of thought. What is the actual experience of the link other than a story in thought?

What does the thought "I am experiencing thought sequences" point to as AE?


Wishing you well,

Aragon
... dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions.... - Nirmala


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