advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:52 am

Hi Robbie,

Thanks for the clarification. You did a nice investigation :)

Please keep noticing thoughts as they arise.

Is there anything you do for a thought to come?
Is there anything you do for a though to pass?
Can you predict what is going to be your next thought?
Is there any control over thoughts?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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robbiemac
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:21 pm

Hi Vivien,

I see very clearly that ‘I’ as Robbie does not think. Thinking happens. And Robbie is the name given to this thinking. Is it the same with doing? I wonder. Perhaps Robbie is the name given to thinking and doing and everything else I had considered myself to be.

But back to thoughts... it also seems that all self-referential-thought is thought about a Robbie that is founded on thoughts that just happen. Let me try to put this another way... So there is thinking; Robbie is the name given to the thinking; and now there is a self-referential-thinking about this Robbie. This just perpetuates the idea of Robbie. So it is beginning to seem this way to me anyway.
Is there anything you do for a thought to come?
Is there anything you do for a though to pass?
Can you predict what is going to be your next thought?
Is there any control over thoughts?
I hope you don’t mind me answering this one collectively because it is an emphatic NO to all.

Many thanks for all your time with this.

🙏

RM

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:46 am

Hi Robbie,

You did a nice investigation. :)

Thoughts show up and tell a story. A story about Robbie.

But what is here underneath thinking?

Is there Robbie without a story about Robbie?

What makes the story of Robbie appear?

Is Robbie here right now?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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robbiemac
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:17 am

Hi Vivien,
But what is here underneath thinking?
This is difficult to describe... A sort of empty aliveness. Simply life.
Is there Robbie without a story about Robbie?
Robbie was the belief ‘I think my thoughts’. Thinking perpetuates this belief with thoughts about Robbie. And society agrees. But now I realize that I am not the thinker of my thoughts, the story of this thinking that I attribute to Robbie just collapses. There is no Robbie. This might sound far fetched because what about ‘doing’? But I am inclined to apply this principal to everything. There is no Robbie thinking and there is no Robbie doing. There is just thinking and doing. Robbie is the story I have given to both. How to put this??? Both inside (as a human) and outside (the circumstances of the world) there is life living. This ‘seeing’ comes and goes and with it I experience a change in energy.
What makes the story of Robbie appear?
The belief that I am the thinker of my thoughts perpetuated by thoughts relating to this thinker. Thought creates Robbie. As mentioned above, I now wonder about all parts of life I felt myself to be because this realization shakes belief in the likes of ‘doing’ too. It seems there could just be life living. And it’s beginning to feel that way too now.
Is Robbie here right now?
Robbie is really just a figment of thought. Robbie is not here. There is no Robbie. There is just life happening. Wow - can’t believe I am saying this. But it seems clearer and clearer now.

RM

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:01 am

Hi Robbie,
This is difficult to describe... A sort of empty aliveness. Simply life.
Yes. There is aliveness. There is existence, it’s always here, it cannot be denied.
This might sound far fetched because what about ‘doing’? But I am inclined to apply this principal to everything.
OK. Let’s go deeper than just implying it to the notion of a doer. :)

Please investigate the following questions for a whole day. Look at them again and again, even when the answer seems to be pretty clear, just look more. And be very careful not to think about them, rather look at the experience directly.

Is there anything that does not happen automatically?

Is there anything that needs your doing? Or everything is just happening?

What do you do in order to be?

What do you do in order to see?
What do you do in order to hear?
What do you do in order to feel?
What do you do in order to taste and smell?

What do you do for thoughts to be?

What do you do in order for the body to be?


Please investigate each questions thoroughly many times throughout the day. Make sure that you don’t just thinking it through and make a logical conclusion, but really investigate in the immediacy of experience.

Let me know what you find.
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:00 pm

Hi Vivien,

So I went on a long run this morning which offered me the opportunity to be as awareness.

As this noticing awareness I was able able to witness all objects - including the rising and passing of thoughts. It was nice and clear. And it was a great place to spend some time! I felt like I was really watching things first hand - super closely.

Then I tried to anchor my attention on my breath whilst ‘seeing’ other objects of awareness. At first, I found this frustrating! I couldn’t ‘attend’ to two objects at the same time - they seemed mutually exclusive. However, with time I was able to include sensory perception (especially seeing and hearing) with attention-on/awareness-of my breath. But this was not possible with thinking/thoughts as they held too much attention so I would skip between breath and thoughts, unable to ‘hold’ both in awareness at the same time. Whereas sensory perception was subtle and allowed me to hold some attention on the breath, the thoughts were vivid and consumed all of my attention.

I checked on this a bit later when I was able to grab 10 mins and it was much the same. I’ll do some more work on this tomorrow.

RM

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:58 am

Hi Robbie,

Good. Just keep doing this. Also try to incorporate many-many short moments of looking (even if just for 10 seconds) into your daily life. Remember, the aim is to be able to notice thoughts as they come and go without engaging with them.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:27 pm

Hi Vivien,

In quieter moments I try to play with the idea of having attention of a sensation (usually a part of the body) and sharing attention with this and whatever else arises.

During busier times I’m trying to observe thinking and I believe I’m doing this but I can’t be sure. On the one hand I feel I am involved in the thinking and on the other hand I’m the one watching it. I don’t really know how to describe this! But I’m definitely less caught up in and identified with thought when I consciously notice it.

Please let me know if this is the right way to be going.

Thanks!

RM

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:42 am

Hi Robbie,
During busier times I’m trying to observe thinking and I believe I’m doing this but I can’t be sure. On the one hand I feel I am involved in the thinking and on the other hand I’m the one watching it. I don’t really know how to describe this! But I’m definitely less caught up in and identified with thought when I consciously notice it.
Yes, that sounds good. Remember, the whole point is to watch thoughts.
In quieter moments I try to play with the idea of having attention of a sensation (usually a part of the body) and sharing attention with this and whatever else arises.
So in these quieter moments mainly focus on watching thoughts too, while you anchor your attention on a sensation.

The whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts, that’s why being able to watch them is so important.

So for now, we are just strengthening the skill of being able to watch thoughts. Later, we will use this skill to inquire.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:27 am

Hi Robbie,

Here is the body exercise we talked about.

The illusion of the self is not just simply coming from thoughts, but also from the belief that “I am the body” or “I have a body” or that this or that sensation is ‘me’ or the location of the ‘me’, or that this or that sensation is happening to ‘me’. So the thought label ‘this is me’ and the appearing sensations are welded together, creating the seeming ‘sense of self’.

Sit with eyes closed for about 15 minutes.
Paying attention only to the pure sensations, without relying on verbal or visual thoughts:

Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or volume?
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?

Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?

Is there an inside or an outside?
If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?
If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?

What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?


Look very carefully with each question, repeatedly. Take your time, don’t rush. You can look several times during the day while doing other things (like washing hands, showering, having a short break from work, walking, etc) before replying.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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robbiemac
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:52 pm

Hi Vivien,

With the eyes closed...
Can it be known how tall the body is?
No. It cannot be known. Only imagined.
Does the body have a weight or volume?
No. There are just independent sensations.
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?


No. There are sensations and I can only imagine the body’s shape and form.
Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?


No. There is a single sensation where the clothing and body meet.
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?


No. A single sensation where the chair and body meet.
Is there an inside or an outside?


Not an inside or outside in terms of the body and what’s outside of it. There is a sensation that appears but it doesn’t appear to be inside or outside of anything.
If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?


Okay so if there is an inside... it would be an inside of a field of awareness. It could be said that all these sensations appear in this field.
If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?


Experientially, there is no outside. All sensations appear inside ‘experience’. But not inside or outside of a body.
What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?


A range of individual sensations appearing independently. And an image I have of a body, my body. What I see in the mirror

What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?

With the eyes closed... there is nothing more than sensations but also then there is the occasional image of a body, the body I have always believed myself to be. With my eyes open... it is what I see whenever or wherever I choose to look.

RM

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:33 am

Hi Robbie,

You did a nice investigation.
With the eyes closed... there is nothing more than sensations but also then there is the occasional image of a body, the body I have always believed myself to be. With my eyes open... it is what I see whenever or wherever I choose to look.
Is there anything else to the body other than the experience of sensations?

Is the mental image of the body the experience of a body, or it’s just an experience of an imagination / visual thought, but not an actual body?


Close your eyes, and scan through the body. Look for every sensation that is present right now. You will find, that as you scan the body, a visual thought ‘shows’ the location of attention, so to speak.

If you look very carefully, you’ll find that there are some parts where the sensations are really strong, but there are other areas where there is hardly any sensation going on, or even nothing. So even the sensations what are labelled as ‘body’ cannot be experienced as a whole. I mean you cannot feel all ‘parts’ of the body at the same time. There is only a constructed visual thought and with the label ‘body’, and the belief that the body is a whole unit, always present, always available. But this cannot be further from the truth. Body as such exists only as a construct.
Can you see this?

Color and shape is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of color only.
The visual thought labelled ‘body’ is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of a thought only.
Sensations are NOT the AE of body, but the AE of sensations only.
The appearance of movement is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of colors and sensations only.

There is ZERO experience of body.
Body as such cannot be experienced.
Body is just a mental construct ( = thought), nothing else.
The body is just a conceptual overlay on the experience of colors and sensations. Can you see this?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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robbiemac
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:35 am

Hi Vivien,
Is there anything else to the body other than the experience of sensations?
No. Just sensations.
Is the mental image of the body the experience of a body, or it’s just an experience of an imagination / visual thought, but not an actual body?
Just an experience of visual thought.
So even the sensations what are labelled as ‘body’ cannot be experienced as a whole. I mean you cannot feel all ‘parts’ of the body at the same time.
Yes I agree with this.
There is only a constructed visual thought and with the label ‘body’, and the belief that the body is a whole unit, always present, always available. But this cannot be further from the truth. Body as such exists only as a construct. Can you see this?
With my eye closed, yes. But this is where it gets confusing because when I open my eyes it doesn't seem like a constructed thought. The body is there, whole, always present and always available.
Color and shape is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of color only.
The visual thought labelled ‘body’ is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of a thought only.
Sensations are NOT the AE of body, but the AE of sensations only.
The appearance of movement is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of colors and sensations only.
Yes, I think I see this but I need to spend some more time with it.
The body is just a conceptual overlay on the experience of colors and sensations. Can you see this?
Again, I need to spend some more time with this. It is the consistency of these colours and shapes that makes this challenging.

Thank you!!

RM

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Vivien
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:00 am

Hi Robbie,
With my eye closed, yes. But this is where it gets confusing because when I open my eyes it doesn't seem like a constructed thought. The body is there, whole, always present and always available.
What is the experience of the body with open eyes?

You say that the body is always there. But can you actually SEE your head?
Or your head only experienced as a sensation?

And when you look into the mirror, do you actually see your head directly?
Or you only see an inference of it, as a visual image (colors) in the mirror?
V: Color and shape is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of color only.
The visual thought labelled ‘body’ is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of a thought only.
Sensations are NOT the AE of body, but the AE of sensations only.
The appearance of movement is NOT the AE of body, but the AE of colors and sensations only.
R: Yes, I think I see this but I need to spend some more time with it.
OK. Please do so

Let me know what you find.

V: The body is just a conceptual overlay on the experience of colors and sensations. Can you see this?
R: Again, I need to spend some more time with this. It is the consistency of these colours and shapes that makes this challenging.
What I am saying is that all there is to the body are the sensations + colors.
And only thought labels them as a ‘body’.

But without words (thoughts), there are only sensations + colors. That’s all.
Can you see this?


Note: we are not denying that in conventionally speaking there is a body. Rather, we are investigating what this body is, to see what it is exactly that we call 'body'. Since the body is not what it seems to be.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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robbiemac
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Re: advaita vedanta lead me to solipsism - please help!

Postby robbiemac » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:56 am

Hi Vivien,
What is the experience of the body with open eyes?
Sensations and the parts of it that I can see (shapes and colors).
You say that the body is always there. But can you actually SEE your head?
Or your head only experienced as a sensation?
Interesting. There’s actually quite a lot of the body that I can’t see.
And when you look into the mirror, do you actually see your head directly?
Or you only see an inference of it, as a visual image (colors) in the mirror?
The visual image.
But without words (thoughts), there are only sensations + colors. That’s all.
Can you see this?
Okay yes this is true.

Thanks for all!!

RM


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