No idea

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Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:41 am

Hi Tom,
I would say that this aware entity is independent but not entirely separate from thoughts and sensations. Thought and sensation is perceived by something (or no-thing) that is unchanging, it must be this way in order to be able to identify and create context for the constant fluctuation in thought and sensation. It is like the white space on the paper that is necessary to see the words.
This is not coming from looking at experience directly. This is coming from thinking. But thinking has no value in this inquiry. Since the whole illusion is created by thoughts.

You have to step outside of the realm of thoughts. You cannot get anywhere with thinking. It’s a dead end.
Rather, turn your attention to the immediacy of experience, BEFORE any thinking.

Your above comment is an intellectual reasoning. But you cannot reason yourself into SEEING how things actually are. Reality is before any reasoning.
I suppose I am referring to the point of awareness that is perceiving the thoughts. I suppose I could say that this “I” doesn’t really own the thoughts any more than it owns the sky that is visible through the window
Please read your above comment. Can you see that you are guessing here?

Guessing = thinking

Forget about everything you’ve ever learned about this topic. Put aside all learned concepts about awareness, non-duality, anything about this topic. You don’t need them. They are in the way of seeing the simplicity of what is.

You have to get to the place of not-knowing. Like a child, who has no learned knowledge about anything.
From this perspective here I see a form that is connected to sensations in my awareness.
Your awareness? So there is a you + awareness? And you own this awareness?
Please Tom, drop all of these. If you want to see things for yourself, you have to let go all of your ideas. You have to let go off your intellect.
There is seemingly a barrier between the edges (skin) of this body and the other objects in my awareness, which in some ways makes it feel “closer” - like this side of the skin is me and the other side is not. All sensation seems to be coming through this body and not the other objects in my awareness.
The thing is that this is also coming from thinking, although you might not see it.
There is also an observer of these sensations which suggests to me that what I am is not only the body, but encompasses everything in my awareness, like the white space and the letters analogy i used earlier. A space within which the form and sensations of the body can be known.
Please put aside these analogies. All this intellectual knowledge you’ve learned throughout the years prevents you to notice the simplicity of what is.
It certainly feels like there is some part of this that has some autonomy. There seems to be a choice of where to place the focus of awareness. But there also seems to be choice within thought even though I see them as automatic and transient just like all bodily sensations.
This is where we have to focus. Put aside the notion of awareness for a while, and let’s dive deep into investigation this seeming control and thoughts.

We go back to continue investigating thoughts.
Seeing clearly thoughts is the foundation.

Try an experiment.

Try to create a thought. Any thought, from scratch. What do you find?

Do you notice how thoughts seem to appear, hang around for a while and somehow pass, and then the next thought come?

What is making thoughts to appear?

Now try preventing a thought from appearing. Is it possible?


Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:20 pm

Hi Vivien

Thank you for your guidance.

It felt like I hit a bit of a wall after your last message. There is a desire to understand, which is getting in the way of my enquiry.

I don't feel I have answers for your last round of questions but I will try to express the extent of my discovery so far.
Try an experiment.

Try to create a thought. Any thought, from scratch. What do you find?
At first glance I can create a thought easily. I say a word to myself and an image appears. On closer inspection though, I see the thought as not as my creation but a creation of thought.

Each thought arises from another thought. The thought to create a thought comes from the thoughts arising from the process of reading your words.
Do you notice how thoughts seem to appear, hang around for a while and somehow pass, and then the next thought come?
Yes. Although the distinction between one thought and another is often very blurry. It appears as more of an ebb and flow like a river.
What is making thoughts appear?
Thoughts are making thoughts appear.
Now try preventing a thought from appearing.
Trying to prevent thoughts doesn't work. It feels like fighting a fire with more fire.

The only way to prevent thought seems to be to remove attention from it. Even this doesn't necessarily prevent thought. They can still arise however they seem to fade quickly again if my attention isn't drawn into them.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:56 am

Hi Tom,
There is a desire to understand, which is getting in the way of my enquiry.
Yes. Understanding happens in thinking. But seeing how things actually are cannot happen in thinking.
Since thinking is the opposite of seeing/experiencing it.
At first glance I can create a thought easily. I say a word to myself and an image appears. On closer inspection though, I see the thought as not as my creation but a creation of thought.
Let’s dig a bit deeper here if there is such thing as creating a thought.

Try to create a thought from scratch.

How do you do it?
Do you use words to make up the thoughts?
Where do you get those words from? Is there a storage place where you go in and grab the word you need?

Do you methodically apply grammar? How do you apply grammar on those words?

And what does the thought look like when it is half formed, before you have finished creating it?

Or is there an infinite number of words somewhere stored hidden from sight, and you go there and pick and choose the words and the grammar structures to create a thought?

Or do you create the words themselves, letter by letter?
Where do you get the letters from?
Each thought arises from another thought. The thought to create a thought comes from the thoughts arising from the process of reading your words.
Thoughts are making thoughts appear.
Thought-1… thought-2… thought-3….thought-4….

Can you actually observe one thought creating another one?

Can you actually OBSERVE (literally) that thought-2 was created by thought-1?
Or rather this is just a logical conclusion from noticing that there is a thought, then another thought, and then another, and so on?

Are thoughts some sort of entities with volition, which have powers to create?
Or all of these are just logic, just more thinking?


Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:11 am

Thank you for your insightful questions Vivien! I have been feeling some resistance to the enquiry and some frustration. I am determined to go all the way with this however.
Try to create a thought from scratch.

How do you do it?
I can’t say that I can create a thought from scratch. There is an appearance of control but the more I look, the more I see it is just happening. It’s like a chain reaction of thought that is already in motion.
Do you use words to make up the thoughts?
Where do you get those words from? Is there a storage place where you go in and grab the word you need?

Do you methodically apply grammar? How do you apply grammar on those words?

And what does the thought look like when it is half formed, before you have finished creating it?

Or is there an infinite number of words somewhere stored hidden from sight, and you go there and pick and choose the words and the grammar structures to create a thought?

Or do you create the words themselves, letter by letter?
Where do you get the letters from?
I see where you are pointing with this. I really wanted to try to understand the answers to these questions but that just keeps me in thought. The apparent fact is that I don’t do any of it. It does itself. The words, the grammar, the letters are all thought. It’s all one big self-perpetuating soup of ideas and concepts. Half a thought is still a thought just like 0.5 is not half a number - it is just another number.
Can you actually observe one thought creating another one?
No I can only see a shift of forms and feelings from one state to another. It is fluid like a continuous stream with ebbs and flows, periods of turbulence and calm.
Are thoughts some sort of entities with volition, which have powers to create?
Or all of these are just logic, just more thinking?
There seems to be volition in thoughts. An idea that there is a thinker who is directing and controlling things at will. This idea is a thought too though. If thought has a will, it is to continue to think, to perpetuate itself. The idea of a separate thinker is a very effective device to safeguard this.

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:36 am

Hi Tom,
I have been feeling some resistance to the enquiry and some frustration. I am determined to go all the way with this however.
What is the resistance about? Could you please tell a bit more about it? What is being resisted exactly?
There is an appearance of control but the more I look, the more I see it is just happening. It’s like a chain reaction of thought that is already in motion
Exactly. This is what we are investigating here. If there is any control over thoughts, or they just happen by themselves.
The apparent fact is that I don’t do any of it. It does itself. The words, the grammar, the letters are all thought. It’s all one big self-perpetuating soup of ideas and concepts. Half a thought is still a thought just like 0.5 is not half a number - it is just another number.
Nice observations :)
here seems to be volition in thoughts. An idea that there is a thinker who is directing and controlling things at will. This idea is a thought too though. If thought has a will, it is to continue to think, to perpetuate itself. The idea of a separate thinker is a very effective device to safeguard this.
Let’s look at this a bit deeper.

You say that there SEEMS to be volition in thoughts. But a SEEMING thing is not a real thing. Just as a seeming mirage in a desert is not an actual oasis, it just SEEMS that way, but actually it’s just a play of light.

So how do you know that there is a thinker of thoughts? Can you find one? Or is this just an unexamined assumption?

And do thoughts actually (literally) have volition, or there are just thoughts ABOUT volition?

Are the thoughts of volition is being thought by a thinker, or thoughts of volition happens on their own, automatically, without anyone or anything making them happen?


Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:35 am

Hi Vivien,

Thank you so much for your patience with me. I feel like there was a small breakthrough this morning as I was reflecting on your questions. Although I am still identified with thoughts most of the time, the way the process functions is becoming clearer to me and the illusion is more transparent.
What is the resistance about? Could you please tell a bit more about it? What is being resisted exactly?
There is a resistance to questions that I cannot answer immediately. A sort of cycle of procrastination happens where thoughts become unsettled and jump from one place to another. A stream of thought that draws attention away from the question.There is a will to return to the question which is met with some kind of barrier. There is a fear of getting it wrong or somehow taking the wrong path which would result in failure. I can see all this as excuses created by the mind to stay within its safety zone. At the same time it seems to affect my state of being. I truly desire to know my true nature and there is also some subtle fear that this search will lead me away from my relative comfort and potentially to something worse.
This fear isn’t really well defined as a thought, it is more a subtle and subconscious aversion that makes it difficult to focus.
So how do you know that there is a thinker of thoughts? Can you find one? Or is this just an unexamined assumption?
I can’t find a thinker of thoughts that is outside of thought. The thinker - the I - is like a form of mental grammar that gives a context to certain thoughts. Thinking is far more interesting when there is an I to whom things happen. Without the thinker all the stories become much less interesting. “I am in pain” for example is much more engaging that “There is a sensation of pain”.
And do thoughts actually (literally) have volition, or there are just thoughts ABOUT volition?
This is becoming clearer to me now. This idea of volition is the key ingredient in the stories. The “I” which supposedly directs thought and decides what to do with the body has choices to make all the time. Therefore this “I” must think more in order to “figure out” what to do next, decide if things are good or bad, give meaning to everything because “I” must also justify its own existence.

It just strikes me now how hilarious it is that I have spent my whole life trying to justify my existence, feeling not good enough somehow. This is because I never really existed in the first place. How could something that really exists possibly need to justify itself. It seems so silly!
Are the thoughts of volition being thought by a thinker, or thoughts of volition happens on their own, automatically, without anyone or anything making them happen?
Yes the thoughts of volition are exactly that - thoughts! All the same stuff disguised as separate entities.

Tom

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:20 am

Hi Tom,
At the same time it seems to affect my state of being. I truly desire to know my true nature and there is also some subtle fear that this search will lead me away from my relative comfort and potentially to something worse.
But what makes you think that seeing that there is no separate self other than an idea would take away comfort?
What makes you thing that it could result in something bad or worse?

What is giving or suggesting these? Thoughts?

Thoughts that show up on their own, without you making them happen?

Are you intentionally choosing to think these fearful thoughts? Or you are aware of them only when they are there?

Therefore this “I” must think more in order to “figure out” what to do next, decide if things are good or bad, give meaning to everything because “I” must also justify its own existence.
It’s not that you don’t exists, rather that there is no separate I that exist other than an idea.
But you are. Existence is. Beingness is. What is is. You are just not what you think you are.


It just strikes me now how hilarious it is that I have spent my whole life trying to justify my existence, feeling not good enough somehow. This is because I never really existed in the first place. How could something that really exists possibly need to justify itself. It seems so silly!
You never existed in the first place, or the I has never existed other than an idea? Which one feels truer?

Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:38 pm

But what makes you think that seeing that there is no separate self other than an idea would take away comfort?
There is no evidence that it would take away comfort. It’s just a fear of the unknown I suppose. There is an idea that says that to follow this path I must reject thought entirely and that without the stories of the mind I would essentially be nothing.

Annihilation.

Something feels preferable to nothing. I fear losing myself and all that is “mine” - memories, emotion, friends, family.
What makes you thing that it could result in something bad or worse?
I don’t know. But in that not knowing there is fear. Fear of the unknown.
What is giving or suggesting these? Thoughts?
Yes these are all thoughts.
Thoughts that show up on their own, without you making them happen?
Yes these are thoughts in the stream of ongoing thought.
Are you intentionally choosing to think these fearful thoughts? Or you are aware of them only when they are there?
There is no choice. They are subtle thoughts. They seem to manifest as resistance to their own contemplation. A paradox. I sense resistance to looking and a resistance to writing and interpreting what I see. There is fear of failure too.

There is an idea of this enquiry as another problem to be solved, for which the sense of self can gain a sense of achievement. There is an idea that the only purpose of anything is to gain a sense of achievement somehow, and the flip side of this is a need to avoid failure. These ideas seem to cancel themselves out and cause a kind of paralysis.

Therefore this “I” must think more in order to “figure out” what to do next, decide if things are good or bad, give meaning to everything because “I” must also justify its own existence.
It’s not that you don’t exists, rather that there is no separate I that exist other than an idea.
But you are. Existence is. Beingness is. What is is. You are just not what you think you are.
From the perspective of thought, there is nothing outside of itself. Thought cannot comprehend its own absence. I know that I do not cease to exist when thought stops. Thought wants to understand this but it can’t. It almost becomes painful as it tries to contort itself into this no-thing-ness that exists in its absence.

Thoughts are creating these sentences and commanding the body to type them here. The whole process feels quite jarring. The separate I is essentially trying to understand its own lack of inherent substance. It’s like an ocean trying to understand the concept of dryness.

And... all of this is thought. I can let it all go in an instant and there is still something here, aware. Everything is here in awareness, including this seeming struggle of thoughts wrestling with itself. Thought has no substance, I can see that quite clearly, and yet here I am still trying to get some breakthrough, some insight that ends the attachment to the idea of “me”
You never existed in the first place, or the I has never existed other than an idea? Which one feels truer?
It’s the idea of I which has no substance. I know that I exist, that cannot be denied but there doesn’t seem to be much more to say about this I without getting into stories and concepts.

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:22 am

Hi Tom,

Thank you for sharing this with me.
There is an idea that says that to follow this path I must reject thought entirely and that without the stories of the mind I would essentially be nothing.
Here is a misunderstanding. You don’t have to reject thoughts; nobody is asking you to do that. Thoughts cannot be rejected, since in order to reject thoughts, first you have to have control over them. But do you?
without the stories of the mind I would essentially be nothing.
Here you believe that what you are is the story. But you are not the story. You are that which is aware of the story.
So you are afraid of this, since you identifies yourself with something that you are not.

Just notice, is there any thought that is you?
Or you are aware of all thoughts?
Including the thoughts of I/me/my/mine/Tom?
Annihilation.
But you won’t stop existing. If you were thoughts, then this fear might be justified.

But just notice that you are aware of thoughts.
You cannot be something that you are aware of.
You cannot be the object of awareness.
Something feels preferable to nothing. I fear losing myself and all that is “mine” - memories, emotion, friends, family.
Do you believe that the stories of Tom will be lost?
That you won’t be able to remember all the memories, emotions, friends and family? Why would they be lost?


How could you lose yourself? – Just investigate this assumption. In order to lose yourself there has to be something that is losing the self. If the self could be lost, that it cannot be you.
Since you are the one who is supposedly could lose the self.
But even that is not true.

Since losing the self is based on the assumption that currently there is a self, and it can be lost in the future as the result of this inquiry.

But the separate self is ALREADY not there. And it NEVER has been.
In the very moment when fearful thoughts of losing the self arise, there is already no separate self.
And yet, you are aware of these thoughts.
So you are here.
There is no separate self ALREADY, but you are regardless!
There is an idea of this enquiry as another problem to be solved, for which the sense of self can gain a sense of achievement. There is an idea that the only purpose of anything is to gain a sense of achievement somehow, and the flip side of this is a need to avoid failure. These ideas seem to cancel themselves out and cause a kind of paralysis.
Thank you for sharing this. Here you are talking about a psychological pattern, a conditioned thoughts and behaviours.

But just notice, that you are aware of this.
You cannot be this pattern, if you are observing it.
Therefore this “I” must think more in order to “figure out” what to do next, decide if things are good or bad, give meaning to everything because “I” must also justify its own existence.
But there is no deed to justify your own existence, since the only sure thing that there is that you exists!
Just by being able to see and notice these black letters on the screen and immediately understanding their meaning shows that you exists.

If you didn’t exist, these words couldn’t be noticed and recognized.
Without you there would be nothing. No experience what so ever.
From the perspective of thought, there is nothing outside of itself. Thought cannot comprehend its own absence. I know that I do not cease to exist when thought stops. Thought wants to understand this but it can’t. It almost becomes painful as it tries to contort itself into this no-thing-ness that exists in its absence.
OK, so the problem is that you are putting way too much emphasis on thoughts, and the stories they are telling moment by moment.

Zoom out form the content of thoughts, and just notice that these are just thoughts that you are aware of.

Are you thinking these thoughts? Or you ever just aware of them?
Thoughts are creating these sentences and commanding the body to type them here.
Can a thought actually command? – there could be thoughts ABOUT commanding the body, but are they actually able to command?

What can a thought do?
Are thoughts living entities with special powers like commanding the body?

Are thought aware of you, or you are aware of thoughts?
Do thoughts know you, or you know thoughts?

Are thoughts aware at all?

You never existed in the first place, or the I has never existed other than an idea? Which one feels truer?
It’s the idea of I which has no substance. I know that I exist, that cannot be denied but there doesn’t seem to be much more to say about this I without getting into stories and concepts.
You have to learn to shift your focus from the content of thoughts to noticing them as thoughts only. Just notice right now that you are aware of reading and understanding these words.
Thought has no substance, I can see that quite clearly, and yet here I am still trying to get some breakthrough, some insight that ends the attachment to the idea of “me”
Can any insight come from thoughts? Or only from noticing what is here now in this very moment?
Can you have an insight in the future? Or only here and now?
Why are you waiting for an imagined future? Why not look and notice what is here now beneath thoughts?


Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:13 pm

Hi Vivien,

I have been working a lot this week and I haven’t given much time to this enquiry.
Here are my attempts to answer your questions from last week:
Do you believe that the stories of Tom will be lost?
That you won’t be able to remember all the memories, emotions, friends and family? Why would they be lost?
On reflection this is all down to assumptions about what it will be like to not identify with thoughts. It is tangled up with beliefs about “enlightenment” that involve some state of formless bliss. I think there is actually a deep yearning for this kind of annihilation at some level. Complete freedom from thought and the exhausting experience of trying to control reality at every step.

However I can see that this is not what we are exploring here and there is no evidence that memories and stories will be lost as a result of seeing through the illusion of self.

A
re you thinking these thoughts? Or you ever just aware of them?
I am not thinking these thoughts, they are just happening
Can a thought actually command? – there could be thoughts ABOUT commanding the body, but are they actually able to command?
There is conflicting evidence here. There are plenty of occasions where the body acts without the involvement of thought. A lot of the body’s movements are automatic. Thoughts have no conscious control over the countless inner workings of digestion, circulation etc. Even some of the more conspicuous movements like walking or scratching my nose rarely seem to be directed by thought.

However there is still the phenomenon of having the thought “I will now wiggle my left big toe” and watching the left big toe move.

It certainly appears in this instance that the body is following the command of the thought since the thought clearly comes before the action. There is clearly some connection between thought and the movements of the body
What can a thought do?
Are thoughts living entities with special powers like commanding the body?
Thoughts themselves appear to have no life or power other than that which they are imbued with through attention. Without the attention of awareness they are a powerless and meaningless flow of words and pictures. Could it be that this awareness is what commands the actions of the body? This also seems unlikely because of how much movement the body undertakes unconsciously. I am rarely aware of the beating of my heart for example and yet it continues.
Are thought aware of you, or you are aware of thoughts?
Do thoughts know you, or you know thoughts?
I think a lot of the headache that I get from trying to answer some of these questions has proven to me that thoughts are not and cannot be aware of anything other than an idea. Whatever “I” really am or am not cannot be known by thought no matter how hard it tries.
There is clearly something to which thoughts are known however.
Are thoughts aware at all?
No thoughts are not aware. Awareness and thought are 2 different things. Awareness is essentially a seeing of what is. Thought does not involve seeing but is instead fabricating. It is a representation of what is seen and experienced that overlays and claims ownership of what is seen.
Can any insight come from thoughts? Or only from noticing what is here now in this very moment?
No I can confidently say that every true insight I have had emerged without and often in spite of thinking.
Can you have an insight in the future? Or only here and now?
I can’t have anything in the future other than an idea. If an insight is some recognition or awareness of truth then it can only happen now and it must occur outside of thought.
Why are you waiting for an imagined future? Why not look and notice what is here now beneath thoughts?
Yes this is thought trying to solve the problem because that is what thought does.
I cannot gain insight through thought.
And then I am aware of a thought that I must try not to try and so the cycle continues :)
It feels like a tricky balance to look for something without the involvement of thought. I will continue to explore what is here beneath thoughts.

Tom

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:49 am

Hi Tom,
It is tangled up with beliefs about “enlightenment” that involve some state of formless bliss.
Enlightenment or awakening is NOT about being in a state of formless bliss.
It’s not about being in any state at all.
And definitely not in bliss.
It’s not about not having the whole spectrum of human emotion, rather just a single one, bliss.
It’s about feeling ALL emotions freely. ALL of them. Not excluding any.
And seeing that there is no separate self in control is not a state at all.
It’s not a different state than what is currently happening.

This is a huge belief that is being spread by many without any roots in reality. Just let it go.
I think there is actually a deep yearning for this kind of annihilation at some level. Complete freedom from thought and the exhausting experience of trying to control reality at every step.
This is a desire on behalf of Tom. This illusionary character wants to be free from thought. Which is an utter impossibility. Since there is no actual character, no actual Tom that thoughts could have an effect on.

Look here now… who or what could be free form thoughts?
What is it exactly that is being affected by thoughts?
However there is still the phenomenon of having the thought “I will now wiggle my left big toe” and watching the left big toe move.
It certainly appears in this instance that the body is following the command of the thought since the thought clearly comes before the action. There is clearly some connection between thought and the movements of the body
OK, but this is a logical conclusion based on the observation that the movement of the big toe was preceded by a thought. That one follows the other. This is all that we can actually notice.

But thoughts jump in quickly trying to make sense of this mystery called life, and asserts the idea of cause and effect. One even causes the other.

But in reality, there are no separate events. It’s one movement, without division.
But thought artificially divides the whole into part, thus creating the illusion of separation, and then making claims about cause and effect.

And of course, cause and effect can be useful concepts in everyday life, but nevertheless they are just concepts.
Actually it’s an attempt to create safety for the fictional me, by asserting I know how things are.

But this process is about investigating these assertions and be open to not knowing.

So just look closely, can you OBSERVE an actual link between an intention and the act that follows it?
Is there an actual link between them? Or it’s just assumed to be there by thoughts?

However there is still the phenomenon of having the thought “I will now wiggle my left big toe” and watching the left big toe move.
Does this thought know about the left big toe? Does this thought know anything about the toe? Is it aware of it?

And what about the big toe? Does sensation called ‘big toe’ know anything about that thought?
Is the sensation aware of the thought?


The question is not whether there is a SEEMING command in a form of a thought, but rather if there is a commander, someone how is making the command.

So is there a commander commanding the toe to move? Or is this commander just ever ASSUMED to be there, but actually not there in reality?

And when the toe moves, what is it exactly that is making the toe move? Is there a mover? Or the toe just moves on its own, without anyone making it happen?

Is there someone or something thinking the commanding thought?
Is there a thinker?
Or these SEEMING commanding thoughts just happen automatically?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:55 am

Hi Vivien,
Look here now… who or what could be free form thoughts?
What is it exactly that is being affected by thoughts?
When I look from where I am now there is no sense of being in the grip of thoughts. The idea of needing to be free of thought stems from another idea that thought is all pervasive. Both are thoughts. I can see that thought is not all pervasive. I am free from thoughts except for when I am believing and identifying with them.

Certain thoughts seem to be connected to tension in the body this leads to thoughts like "I am stressed" or "I am tired".

This only seems to affect me if I am believing that I am limited to the the thought and associated sensations in the body. When I am fully aware I can see that there is more than this - that I am not truly affected by this.
So just look closely, can you OBSERVE an actual link between an intention and the act that follows it?

Is there an actual link between them? Or it’s just assumed to be there by thoughts?
When I look closely, I notice that the toe movement is happening independent of thought. There can be the thought "I will move my left big toe" and the toe can move or not move.

There seems to be some kind of instigator of this movement. But it is certainly not the words "I will move my left big toe"

I can see how thoughts are trying to make sense of the movements of the body by claiming control over them.
Does this thought know about the left big toe? Does this thought know anything about the toe? Is it aware of it?

And what about the big toe? Does sensation called ‘big toe’ know anything about that thought?
Is the sensation aware of the thought?
This feels like a new insight: the thought and the toe are two separate things. Both objects of awareness but neither is aware of anything by itself. The only connection these two things have is that I am aware of them.

So is there a commander commanding the toe to move? Or is this commander just ever ASSUMED to be there, but actually not there in reality?

And when the toe moves, what is it exactly that is making the toe move? Is there a mover? Or the toe just moves on its own, without anyone making it happen?
I need to examine this more deeply. As I place attention on the toe it is moving more frequently. I can't tell if this directed by some decision maker or by attention itself. The more I look at it, the more it seems to have a life of it's own.
Is there someone or something thinking the commanding thought?
Is there a thinker?
Or these SEEMING commanding thoughts just happen automatically?
There is an elegance and beauty to the way multiple parts of the body move in harmony to create larger movements like walking and breathing. When I look at one single part like a toe it seems to be acting alone, almost at random. When I look at a larger movement combining many parts they seem to be acting from a larger intelligence. Like there is a controller of some kind that is able to coordinate the movements.
I can see that it isn't coming from thought however. It also isn't coming from awareness because a lot of these movements happen without awareness.

Thank you,
Tom

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Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:57 am

Hi Tom,
V: So is there a commander commanding the toe to move? Or is this commander just ever ASSUMED to be there, but actually not there in reality?

And when the toe moves, what is it exactly that is making the toe move? Is there a mover? Or the toe just moves on its own, without anyone making it happen?
T: I need to examine this more deeply. As I place attention on the toe it is moving more frequently. I can't tell if this directed by some decision maker or by attention itself. The more I look at it, the more it seems to have a life of it's own.
OK, please look into this more.

You are talking about a decision maker. If there is such thing, then it has to be here now.
So where is it? Is there a decision maker here now? Or is this just an unquestioned assumption?

And how could attention direct the toe to move? Can you observe (literally) that attention is making the toe to move? Or is this another assumption?

What if there is no toe-mover? What if it’s just moves automatically without anyone or anything making it happen, just as everything else happens naturally, on its own?

When I look at a larger movement combining many parts they seem to be acting from a larger intelligence. Like there is a controller of some kind that is able to coordinate the movements.
I can see that it isn't coming from thought however.
Dear Tom, this is a pure speculation. The notion of a lager or a higher intelligence is a popular one, but look, is this something that actually happening, or is this just a thought story trying to get in line with the idea, that there must be something doing and making things happen?
It also isn't coming from awareness because a lot of these movements happen without awareness.
This is also a speculation, a logical conclusion.

You are talking about awareness as if it were an entity who/what could do things. But is this so?
I am free from thoughts except for when I am believing and identifying with them.
What is this I that could be free from thoughts? Is there any other I than the thought of I?
This only seems to affect me if I am believing that I am limited to the the thought and associated sensations in the body. When I am fully aware I can see that there is more than this - that I am not truly affected by this.
OK, it seems that there is a shifting identification from the body-mind and the Tom-character to the notion of awareness. But this identification is still about a me, an entity who is now identifying itself as awareness.

Knowing or aware-ing is happening, yes. Existence is.
But is there someone or somebody making the statement that I am awareness?
This feels like a new insight: the thought and the toe are two separate things. Both objects of awareness but neither is aware of anything by itself. The only connection these two things have is that I am aware of them.
Yes, for the first sentence. But in the second one, there is an identification with the notion of awareness.

It’s very easy to get into a trap of conceptualizing ‘whatever is aware’ into a thing and then identify with it. And thus the notion of the self can hide there in the cloak of awareness.

So the question is:
What is it exactly that is identifying itself as awareness?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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TomnotTom
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:37 pm

Hi Vivien,

I've been very busy with work this week. Apologies for taking so long to reply to your questions. It does feel like things are slowly shifting in the background though.
OK, please look into this more.
I have been looking and it is becoming more and more apparent that it is just happening by itself. I am willing to concede that there is no ‘doer’ making it happen.
You are talking about a decision maker. If there is such thing, then it has to be here now.
So where is it? Is there a decision maker here now? Or is this just an unquestioned assumption?
There is no decision maker here other than thoughts that may claim to be making things happen. I can see that thought is merely post-rationalising things that have happened.
And how could attention direct the toe to move? Can you observe (literally) that attention is making the toe to move? Or is this another assumption?
Attention is merely attention. It has no control over the objects of attention. I can see this need to find a doer at the root of action is coming from a conditioned belief. It’s the way I have been looking at the world. As I see it now, this is impossible because it is trying to attribute the cause of action to some fixed object. There’s this idea that some things are fixed/static and some things move - nouns and verbs. In reality there are no nouns, only verbs. Everything is motion. There is no doer - only doing.
What if there is no toe-mover? What if it’s just moves automatically without anyone or anything making it happen, just as everything else happens naturally, on its own?
I suppose a toe-mover would be the same as a wind-blower. A romantic fantasy that could be used to write poetic stories but clearly not the way things are in reality.

In this context it seems plainly obvious. Despite this, I still feel quite bound to a lifetime of stories that put a ‘me’ in the starring role as a controller or a victim of events. Less so the victim role because that is easier to spot as a fabrication. The controller of a body and maker of decisions is a more difficult belief to drop. When attention is open, the doer, the ‘I’ is not here, but when attention is focused on thought, the ‘me’ story becomes intoxicatingly real.
The notion of a lager or a higher intelligence is a popular one, but look, is this something that actually happening, or is this just a thought story trying to get in line with the idea, that there must be something doing and making things happen?
I still see intelligence in all action. Perhaps this is an unnecessary labelling thought? Could it be that there is intelligence permeating everything, that is action itself but not an actor - not something that does or makes anything happen - merely the doing?

I don’t know about larger or higher, but It’s hard not to see intelligence in the forms and movements of nature. I don’t see this as necessarily implying that there must be a ‘doer’ of the intelligence. Can there not be intelligence in action without something doing or making it happen?

I can also see how this kind of speculation could perpetuate the myth of a doer of things so I won’t dwell on it.

You are talking about awareness as if it were an entity who/what could do things. But is this so?
This was a really helpful pointer. I see that I was projecting this idea of the doer onto awareness, making awareness into a noun. Awareness is a verb. It is just being aware, nothing more or less.

I am free from thoughts except for when I am believing and identifying with them.

What is this I that could be free from thoughts? Is there any other I than the thought of I?
Thank you for pointing this out! ‘I’ only exists as a thought. I will never be free of thought because ‘I’ is a function of thought. Freedom from thoughts has no ‘I’.
Knowing or aware-ing is happening, yes. Existence is.
But is there someone or somebody making the statement that I am awareness?
I think this comes from reading and listening to nondual type stuff and a resulting belief that this awareness is my true nature. I see that this is just transferring the ‘I’ label from this body and these thoughts to awareness. Although I understand this, it is hard to shake the notion that somewhere, at some level there is an identity of sorts. A basic essence that is somehow ‘me’ - what I am.
What is it exactly that is identifying itself as awareness?
It is a thought. Identity is a part of the language of thought, it’s a label. Thanks to your guidance I can see that awareness is not a thing but a process. Awareness is aware. I is a thought. 2 different things.

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Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:30 am

Hi Tom,
I can see that thought is merely post-rationalising things that have happened.
Exactly. So something happens, and after thoughts appearing claiming that “It was me”, I did it”.
Attention is merely attention. It has no control over the objects of attention. I can see this need to find a doer at the root of action is coming from a conditioned belief. It’s the way I have been looking at the world. As I see it now, this is impossible because it is trying to attribute the cause of action to some fixed object. There’s this idea that some things are fixed/static and some things move - nouns and verbs. In reality there are no nouns, only verbs. Everything is motion. There is no doer - only doing.
Excellent observation :)
I still see intelligence in all action. Perhaps this is an unnecessary labelling thought? Could it be that there is intelligence permeating everything, that is action itself but not an actor - not something that does or makes anything happen - merely the doing?
HOW do you SEE intelligence? How does intelligence ITSELF look like?
What color it has? What shape? How big it is? What is its texture?

Can you actually SEE intelligence without thinking and imagining?
If you drop or ignore all thoughts and mental images, what is left of it?

The controller of a body and maker of decisions is a more difficult belief to drop.
Please spend as much time as you can in the midst of your daily life observing and noticing how the body moves, how it feels, what it does.

You can notice how the legs are moving as walking happens.
When walking, what do you do in order for the legs to move?
Are you making walking happen, or it just happens automatically and effortlessly?
When you sit down, or stand up, is this something you do, or something that is happening?


Notice all sorts of sensations in the body.
Are you making the sensations happen, or they are there, without anyone or anything making them to be?

When breathing happens, are you making it to happen, or it happens automatically without anyone making it happen?

When preparing food, or eating, washing your hands, typing, brushing your teeth, dressing up, are you making the hands move, or the hands just move by themselves?

Is there a central controller somewhere in the body, from where strings are pulled to lift the arms, and move the body? Or all of it just happening automatically?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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