Halfway there?

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:17 am

All right, spend a bit more time with looking.

Have a nice day,
Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:57 am

Hi Vivien,

Yeah - I was overthinking it again. Old habits die hard! I had to remember: just answer the question with simple observation.... Realized there was an expectation of some sort of revelation.
Are you saying that there are two sensations there? One for the skin, and another sensation for the clothing?
Are there actually two sensations there, or only one?
And only thoughts and mental images provide the narration that this single sensation is the ‘clothing touching the skin’?
Can you actually find skin in experience? Or all you ever find is a sensation?
There is only one sensation, there are not two! I can only find one general sensation - and exactly that: paying attention - it’s a literal image appearing in thoughts that make it two sensations. It’s crazy to realize how ingrained this is!
Are you sure that there are borders to sensations?
Are you sure that there is a place where a sensation begins?
Do sensations have an actual beginning and ending?
In terms of borders to sensation - no, not borders... I suppose, like thought, sensation seems to just appear. I think I’m more noting the fact that the skin is the point where sensation occurs - visual information comes in telling me my hand is close to the ground, but only when it touches the ground (the border) does sensation arise. But that’s more conceptualizing.
Or all beginning and ending is just a conceptual overlay on the raw experience of boundary-less, borderless, formless, shapeless sensation?
I think this is where I got tripped up last night. Observing it clearly, it is indeed boundary-less, borderless, formless, and shapeless.
But here the thoughts started spinning - “but it’s impossible to live with that conception” “What am I supposed to be seeing, if I’ve realized this” etc... I am not supposed to live with this understanding all the time, right? To feel my sensations as divorced from my skin etc?

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:25 am

Hi awakeningbk,
There is only one sensation, there are not two! I can only find one general sensation - and exactly that: paying attention - it’s a literal image appearing in thoughts that make it two sensations. It’s crazy to realize how ingrained this is!
Great observation :)
In terms of borders to sensation - no, not borders... I suppose, like thought, sensation seems to just appear. I think I’m more noting the fact that the skin is the point where sensation occurs
This is a learned, intellectual knowledge.

But how do you know that the sensation occurs where the skin is?

Is there a sensation for the skin, and another sensation which appears inside or at the point of the other sensation labelled ‘skin’?

Is there anything else to the skin than sensations?


Can one sensation be inside another one?
visual information comes in telling me my hand is close to the ground, but only when it touches the ground (the border) does sensation arise. But that’s more conceptualizing.
It is conceptual.
And even the visual field doesn’t say anything about a ground. Only thoughts label some part of the visual field as ground and other parts as hands, with a conclusion that the hands are close to the ground.
But here the thoughts started spinning - “but it’s impossible to live with that conception” “What am I supposed to be seeing, if I’ve realized this” etc... I am not supposed to live with this understanding all the time, right? To feel my sensations as divorced from my skin etc?
But who would live that way?

As I mentioned before we are not aiming to change how experience show up. We are not trying to get into a special state, a state that is different from what currently is happening.
We are just investigating how things actually are in reality.
But we are not trying to change how things appear in daily life.
To feel my sensations as divorced from my skin etc?
You believe that there is anything more to the skin than sensations + colors. And since you assume that your skin is more than just sensations + colours, you make the conclusion that we are trying to divorce the sensation from the actual skin.
Close your eyes and try to experience your skin.

Can you see that all there is to ‘your skin’ are sensations? Nothing else?
And if you open your eyes, then there is an additional element, colors? And that’s all?


Normally, I wouldn’t go this deep into investigating the body, but since you have a strong identification with the body, therefore we dive a bit deeper here.

The whole point is to recognize that even the body is not what it seems to be, let alone a self, a me, who is supposedly living inside the body and experiences the world through the senses of the body.

This entity supposed to be inside or behind the skin.

But can you ever find a skin, other than sensations?

If you focus your attention to the deeper parts of the body under the sensations called skin, can you find anything else there than just more sensations?

Can you find under the skin-sensation an entity, a person, who feels and thinks?
Or all that you can find are sensations without any borders, or shapes?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:22 pm

But how do you know that the sensation occurs where the skin is?
Is there a sensation for the skin, and another sensation which appears inside or at the point of the other sensation labelled ‘skin’?
Ahhh!! That’s a good point!! There is no indicator that the sensation happens where the skin is, there is JUST sensation!
Is there anything else to the skin than sensations?
No! It’s all sensations!
Can one sensation be inside another one?
No - it’s JUST sensation!


But who would live that way?
As I mentioned before we are not aiming to change how experience show up. We are not trying to get into a special state, a state that is different from what currently is happening.
We are just investigating how things actually are in reality.
But we are not trying to change how things appear in daily life.
Yes ah of course... Thank you for reminding me again!
Can you see that all there is to ‘your skin’ are sensations? Nothing else?
And if you open your eyes, then there is an additional element, colors? And that’s all?
Yes!!! This was very helpful thank you so much!! I see what you’re saying - it’s the same thing I was doing with “ego”, when it was really just all thoughts. Yes - it’s just sensations and colors - everything else is a thought conception
But can you ever find a skin, other than sensations?

If you focus your attention to the deeper parts of the body under the sensations called skin, can you find anything else there than just more sensations?

Can you find under the skin-sensation an entity, a person, who feels and thinks?
Or all that you can find are sensations without any borders, or shapes?
No! It’s all just sensations!! Thank you Vivien, this was super helpful!!

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:26 am

Hi awakeningbk,
You did a nice investigation.
V: But can you ever find a skin, other than sensations?

If you focus your attention to the deeper parts of the body under the sensations called skin, can you find anything else there than just more sensations?

Can you find under the skin-sensation an entity, a person, who feels and thinks?
Or all that you can find are sensations without any borders, or shapes?
A: No! It’s all just sensations!! Thank you Vivien, this was super helpful!!
I’m glad to hear that :) But please look at this more to really sink in.

Search for any sign of an autonomous entity with volition behind the sensations labelled ‘skin’.
Look everywhere again and again, until there is zero doubt left.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:26 am

Hi Vivien,

Thank you. I tried to take today to do so, to really try and pay attention, but it was a marathon day with a to-do list that didn’t end, and I found myself caught up in the rhythm of that, seldom able to truly try and pay attention. I will try again hard tomorrow, to pay attention simply and really try to let this sink in.

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:21 am

All right, than you for letting me know :)
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:58 pm

Hi Vivien,

I tried to post last night, but the internet was down in my area for a while and I had to wait until this morning.

There’s been a lot of struggling with this I have to admit!
Normally, I wouldn’t go this deep into investigating the body, but since you have a strong identification with the body, therefore we dive a bit deeper here.

The whole point is to recognize that even the body is not what it seems to be, let alone a self, a me, who is supposedly living inside the body and experiences the world through the senses of the body.

This entity supposed to be inside or behind the skin
I’ve tried to pay closer attention throughout the day, and I am still getting jammed somewhere. Not in the sense that I’m expecting a different state or something, but that there is this resounding statement in thought “but you ARE the body”. I really seem to not see clearly.

I do not believe I am “my story” anymore - that much has become so clear. Thoughts appear, and then they disappear - and identifying with my past is like identifying with a fairytale. There is no doer, there is no taster, no hear-er - this knowledge comes in. And you’re right that, looking closely I cannot discern more than one sensation when the skin is touched in some way.

But I cannot seem to get over the fact that others experience a completely different set of sensory input. I know you’ve addressed this in a previous reply, saying that I am taking my experience/conceptualizing it, and then projecting my understanding onto “others”, and I reread it to try and be sure to understand.. but I’m struggling.
I can never know, truly know if others’ have their own version of experience. It’s fair to assume, and yes, and I go with that, but ultimately, the thing is that I just simply cannot know. I can only assume and believe, but I cannot know it directly. I can only know my own experience, and only assume that others have their own version of experience. So the thought of there being other experiences (other than what is here and I know of), is not my experience, but my thought. This assumption is coming from thinking only.

...The thing is you’re not trusting your experience
Saying that all other’s feelings is just a conceptual thing I can’t know means that everything is conceptual - that I can’t even know for sure that my husband exists! Even though I see him, hear him, feel him when he holds my hand.

I guess a good example of where I’m stuck is this:
My husband was doing the dishes last night. The cold water was running over his hands - I was sitting and could not feel that cold water. It was “his” experience. He remarked on how he enjoys doing the dishes and finds the cold water relaxing.
His experience of the water on his hands and my lack of it is something physical, something REAL. His experience as an entity is different from mine.

Additionally, I might not know exactly what the sensation of cold water over his skin feels like for him, but I do know it’s impossible for me to feel it while sitting across the room.
While I no longer believe in an independent, volitional entity in either him nor I, him and I are not one, so to speak - I cannot experience what he is experiencing. If anything, it seems like that’s where the identification has gone. I think my thought process is thus, “Yes - no doer, no see-er. Just doing and seeing. Likes and dislikes arise and exist, but no independent being with volition. But awakeningbk’s ‘sensory vantage point’ is different from husbands’, therefore awakeningbk is the vantage point”

I can see that everything is thought, you’ve shown me that. It’s a little subtle for me to pick up on, but it has become clear and the past couple days have been spent blown away by the layers on layers of thought that there are.

But Vivien, how on earth could “I” not be the body? I do not experience what my husband does, I am experiencing totally different things from him - I do not feel pain when he trips and falls, I do not feel rested when he sleeps? We might not be volitional independent beings, but how can we not be the body, considering this?
I am sure I am just misunderstanding or something. Sorry Vivien about this length, I’ve really struggled with this the past couple days and hate taking your time with what is clearly my own density. I wish I could see this quickly/clearly and stop struggling.

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:09 am

Dear awakeningbk,
there is this resounding statement in thought “but you ARE the body”.
The thing is that you are thinking about it. You are trying to grasp it intellectually. But what you miss here is that you have an idea what non-separation means, and then you are trying to find proofs for your idea. And since you cannot prove your idea in experience, therefore you conclude that “I am the body”.
Saying that all other’s feelings is just a conceptual thing I can’t know means that everything is conceptual - that I can’t even know for sure that my husband exists!
We are not saying that you husband doesn’t exit. Speculating on this would be just a philosophical contemplation.
I guess a good example of where I’m stuck is this:
My husband was doing the dishes last night. The cold water was running over his hands - I was sitting and could not feel that cold water. It was “his” experience. He remarked on how he enjoys doing the dishes and finds the cold water relaxing.
His experience of the water on his hands and my lack of it is something physical, something REAL. His experience as an entity is different from mine.

Additionally, I might not know exactly what the sensation of cold water over his skin feels like for him, but I do know it’s impossible for me to feel it while sitting across the room.
While I no longer believe in an independent, volitional entity in either him nor I, him and I are not one, so to speak
So the ‘problem’ lies here. You have some sort of idea about oneness or non-separation, and with that idea you assume that oneness would mean that somehow we could have access to others experiences, like what they think or feel. It is quite a common one. Another popular idea is that oneness means that somehow my body could merge with other bodies, or with a table or a tree, so somehow we dissolve into each other.

But oneness or non-separation are none of these. It’s something completely different.
Non-separation doesn’t mean that you will ever be able to feel or know your husband’s experiences.
This will never happen. And it won’t have to happen, since this has nothing to do with seeing non-separation.

Usually, I wouldn’t go into detail to explain this, but since you are really hung up on this, it might be useful if I point out why your idea of oneness is not how it is. But of course, it won’t help you in seeing it, but at least it could help letting go of your own version of it.

No matter what is your experience, experience is always known.
There is always a knowing element present, here now.
Actually, this is the only ‘stable thing’ that is. Everything else (experience) is constantly shifting.

So knowing is always on, always happening.
But it’s not the body that knows.
Rather the body is ALSO known.
The body itself shows up as an experience, which is known.

So this ‘knowing’ knows or aware of the body called ‘awakeningbk’.
But this ‘knowing’ also aware of other bodies, like the body called ‘husband’, and any other objects that might be present (room, table, laptop, tree, whatever)

So BOTH the body of ‘awakeningbk’ and the body of ‘husband’ are KNOWN.

Just as BOTH a tree and the body of ‘awakeningbk’ is known.

And form the relative perspective the body appears to be in a certain distance from a tree.
And we believe that the body is perceiving the tree.
But it’s not true. Since the body itself is PERCEIVED TOO.
BOTH the body and the tree is perceived or known by this aware-no-thing. This knowing that is always here.

So from the perspective of knowing, there is no distance between the knowing of the body and the knowing of a tree.
Both the body and the tree is immediately known by the knowing, without being any distance between the two.
And not just there is no distance between the knowing and the body, but literally there is no separation between knowing and the body.
Similarly, there is no separation between knowing and the tree.

So when we talk about two people, two bodies, in the relative perspective the world seem to be different from the perspective of each body. And this is going to stay like this. This will never ever change.
But from the perspective of knowing, BOTH the body called ‘awakeningbk’ and the body called ‘husband’ are KNOWN equally, without any distance between knowing of them.
So non-separation is never about the perceived distance between two bodies or two physical objects.
It’s about the distance, or rather say the lack of distance, between the object and the knowing of it.

This knowing is the subject, and the body is a known object.
Non-separation or oneness means that there is no separation between subject (knowing) and any object (whatever is known).

I hope that this explanation helps to let go of your idea of your own version or interpretation of oneness.
After you can let go off it, the next step is to see this in experience.
But Vivien, how on earth could “I” not be the body?
By seeing that the body is not the knower of experience. The body itself is not aware. The body is aware-ed, or known.
The body is NOT the subject of experience, but just a known object.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:30 am

Hi Vivien,

Wow - thank you so much for this. I think you’ve given me a lot to consider - but not to think about. I’m taking your words to heart to not look for a new idea in your description, but rather try to see that my current conception is a fiction. You’ve made a very compelling case and helped me see that (once again) I have more expectations that need to be aired and discarded.

I’d like to take a day to really journal and write out absolutely everything I’ve seen from our correspondences. It’s been useful to reread the entire conversation before, and I think it will be useful to do so again and write out the things I know for sure (what I’ve seen myself). Writing tends to help clarify and solidify - for me at least.

If you approve of that plan, I’ll aim to do it by tomorrow night, but tomorrow is also supposed to be a 12-hour work day, so I’ll do my best. But something inside feels that is the right thing to be doing.

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:33 am

All right :)
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:32 am

Hi Vivien,

I took a very long walk yesterday without my cell phone and tried to sort-of meditate on all this while just observing the world around me. Some things clicked into place, but I need another day to do the actual work of that writing, which still feels very necessary (my work day ended up being 15 hours so I walked home in order to contemplate this) - is it ok if I have another day?

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:34 am

Of course, no problem :)
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:09 am

Hi Vivien,

I am still writing everything out (about halfway done with our conversation), but I thought I should send an update.

I think I’ve seen something, or gotten something? I think I’ve seen that yes - I am not the body. I cannot control the body, the body is in process, it’s like a spinning top in motion, or like a wave, but it’s not a fixed, controlled thing. Further, at it’s foundation, there is not an independent, volitional entity at the heart. It is completely interconnected with a whole web of things. The question, “then what am I?” keeps arising.

The one conclusion that arises is: I’m observing. Just observation.

Seeing this clearly, no separation between things does make sense. I was riding the train today, seeing all these other breathing, thinking, shifting, chattering bodies. I couldn’t feel that they were me so to speak - but I am not quite sure what that word means anymore anyway.

I am not sure if I am seeing this clearly, as another facet is that the veneer of thought is so astonishingly thick, it’s ever so easy for me to not pay attention. I also don’t necessarily feel too much different towards others - maybe more empathy is percolating now, but I am not sure.

Overall - things are not that different right now, but I think it might be because there is still always the urge to identify. Whether it be with the image of the body that arises in the mind, with some opinion (there are so darn many of them), or something else. But I also am going to keep sitting with it and exploring, and I am continuing to write this out which is also bringing clarity.

Does this sound close? Is it really just so simple? I suppose, once again, there has been a pesky hiding expectation (argh) that I will experience the world differently, and instead what I am finding is just layers and layers of veneer and illusion so sticky and thick that it can be hard to let go of them. But when I stop, when I pause and pay attention, when I see thoughts as just that, and pay attention to the literal effortless-ness of the body’s functions, things are clear then.
Should it be more clear, more vibrant? Am I holding back in some way, or is it sometimes a slow and gentle thing?

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:43 am

Dear awakeningbk,
It is completely interconnected with a whole web of things.
The notion of interconnection is a thought. There is no experience of interconnectedness. It can appear only as a thought.

But realization never happens on the level of thoughts.
It’s not coming from thinking.
It’s the NOTICING how things are, REGARDLESS thought stories about it.

Interconnected is a thought story.

You are trying very hard to think it through.
But this is a total dead-end.

Have you heard the expression that this is very simple? – It’s time to take this seriously :)

This is simple. Very simple.
Put aside your thought.
Put aside the desire to figure it out.
You will never ever be able to figure it out.
You can only NOTICE how things ALREADY are, here now.
No thought is needed.
Seeing this clearly, no separation between things does make sense. I was riding the train today, seeing all these other breathing, thinking, shifting, chattering bodies. I couldn’t feel that they were me so to speak - but I am not quite sure what that word means anymore anyway.
You are still holding onto your ideas of me somehow merging with others.
This is just a thought story you’re telling yourself.

When you say “I couldn’t feel they were me” – then what does the word ‘me’ refer to in this sentence? The body?
You couldn’t feel that other bodies weren’t you (as this body you call me)?

What kind of feeling do you expect?
Where should this feeling appear, in which part of the body?

And how would you recognize that a feeling is that “others are me (as this body)”?
Do you see the trap here?

Do you see that you still expect that your body somehow should merge with other bodies, or somehow you would be able to feel others’ feelings and hear others’ thoughts?

Is there someone in the body called ‘awakeningbk’ who is feeling this body’s feelings and sensations?

Where is this someone who feels sensations and supposedly should be able to feel others’ sensations and emotions too?

Where is the FEELER? – find it

But when I stop, when I pause and pay attention, when I see thoughts as just that, and pay attention to the literal effortless-ness of the body’s functions, things are clear then.
This is the simplicity I’m talking about.
Should it be more clear, more vibrant? Am I holding back in some way, or is it sometimes a slow and gentle thing?
Do you expect some big BUMMM!? :) Can you let go off trying to grasp onto something and measuring it whether it is or not?
Overall - things are not that different right now, but I think it might be because there is still always the urge to identify. Whether it be with the image of the body that arises in the mind, with some opinion (there are so darn many of them), or something else.
Who or what is identifying with the image of the body or with opinions?
Where is the identifier?

What could the identity of the image of the body or opinion stick to?
And what does the glue made of?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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