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 21, 2020 10:28 am

Hi Robbie,

You did a nice looking.

With eyes closed, put one of the hands on a desk or a table. Pay attention only to the pure sensation.

Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that the hand is doing the touching?
Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that there is a hand (subject) that touching the table (object), or is there only the sensation?
When both verbal and visual thoughts are ignored is there a ‘hand’ or a ‘table’ at all?
How many sensations are there? Is there one for the ‘hand’ and another one for the ‘table’?

What is FEELING the sensation?
Where is the FEELER of sensations?
Can an ‘INHERENT FEELER’ be found?

Would anything that is suggested as the ‘feeler’, be anything other than a concept/idea and/or a mislabelled sensation?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

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

Postby robbiemac » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:16 pm

Hi Vivien,
Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that the hand is doing the touching?
No.
Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that there is a hand (subject) that touching the table (object), or is there only the sensation?
No. And actually... the attention is consumed by the sensation to such an extent that I don't really experience the hand at all. Sure, I can picture the hand. But I don't experience it.
When both verbal and visual thoughts are ignored is there a ‘hand’ or a ‘table’ at all?
Neither are there at all.
How many sensations are there? Is there one for the ‘hand’ and another one for the ‘table’?
No. just a single sensation.
What is FEELING the sensation?
Me - the 'noticer' of the sensation.
Where is the FEELER of sensations?
At first it feels like the head. Then, at the point of the sensation itself. Then, I cannot pinpoint where the feeler is. And under further investigation, I am not sure that I can find a feeler anywhere.
Can an ‘INHERENT FEELER’ be found?
Would anything that is suggested as the ‘feeler’, be anything other than a concept/idea and/or a mislabelled sensation
Okay... so when I located the feeler as being in the head I realised that this is actually just a sensation of the head (when the attention included the sensation of the head and that of the hand meeting the table) and a visual impression of the head being the feeler. But without the visual impression there are just the sensations of the hand meeting the table and the head. So, the visual impression is a thought that labels the sensation of the head as the feeler of the sensation of the hand meeting the table. And from where do I notice these sensations? I really cannot find the knower of these sensations.

Thanks

RM

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

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:52 am

Hi Robbie,
No. And actually... the attention is consumed by the sensation to such an extent that I don't really experience the hand at all. Sure, I can picture the hand. But I don't experience it.
This statement is based on the assumption that there is anything else to the hand than sensations.
but is that so?
V: What is FEELING the sensation?
R: Me - the 'noticer' of the sensation.
And where is this ‘me’ that is supposedly noticing and feeling sensations?
Is there an actual noticer?
Is there an actual feeler?
Or the noticer and feeler are just assumed to be there?
At first it feels like the head. Then, at the point of the sensation itself. Then, I cannot pinpoint where the feeler is. And under further investigation, I am not sure that I can find a feeler anywhere.
OK, please look at this more. Look at this repeatedly 50+ more times. And even when the answer seems to be clear, look more.
This investigation is all about repetition.
Okay... so when I located the feeler as being in the head I realised that this is actually just a sensation of the head (when the attention included the sensation of the head and that of the hand meeting the table) and a visual impression of the head being the feeler.
What do you mean by the ‘visual impression of the head’?
Are you talking about mental images?
And from where do I notice these sensations? I really cannot find the knower of these sensations.
The question is: Is there an I that is noticing sensation?
Or the sensations are just known without an actual I, an actual person noticing them?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

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

Postby robbiemac » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:48 pm

Hi Vivien,
This statement is based on the assumption that there is anything else to the hand than sensations.
but is that so?
I suppose what I meant is: when I focus attention on the hand before it touches the table there is a sensation of the hand, then I place the hand on the table and focus on the sensation of where the hand meets the table and it takes away the initial sensation of the hand.
And where is this ‘me’ that is supposedly noticing and feeling sensations?
Is there an actual noticer?
Is there an actual feeler?
Or the notices and feeler are just assumed to be there?
Assumed. At this point, I assumed that for something to be felt there must be a feeler. An object requires a subject to be recognised. There is the sensation and a noticing without a specific noticer. There is the sensation of where the hand meets the table and then attention goes to the sensation of the head. An assumption is made that the head is noticing the sensation. But this is not true because the head itself is a sensation. Noticed by what? Nothing specific. Just noticing.
The question is: Is there an I that is noticing sensation?


No, there is just the sensation and the noticing.
Or the sensations are just known without an actual I, an actual person noticing them?
Yeah, this is true. I’m still getting used to this. In its rawest form, there is the noticing of the hand where it meets the table. Then, there is sense of being in the head and the head being the noticer of that sensation. But what is it that notices the head? Seems like nothing. But perhaps I am fooling myself. I don’t know!

Thanks for all Vivien.

RM

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

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:37 am

Hi Robbie,
Assumed. At this point, I assumed that for something to be felt there must be a feeler. An object requires a subject to be recognised. There is the sensation and a noticing without a specific noticer. There is the sensation of where the hand meets the table and then attention goes to the sensation of the head. An assumption is made that the head is noticing the sensation. But this is not true because the head itself is a sensation. Noticed by what? Nothing specific. Just noticing.
OK, please look into this more.

Is there a Robbie noticing and feeling sensations?
Is there a me feeling?
Or maybe the body is the feeler?

Or sensations just happen on their own, and to no one, just free floating without being anchored to anything and anyone?

Then, there is sense of being in the head and the head being the noticer of that sensation.
Please focus on this sense of being in the head.

What is it that you actually FEEL in the head?
Is there a me inside the head that is being felt to be inside?
Is there a Robbie being in the head noticing what is going on? Where exactly?


Please spend lots of time looking at this, again and again.

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 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:33 am

Hi Robbie,

How things are going?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

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

Postby robbiemac » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:41 am

Hi Vivien,

I had it in mind to send you a note this morning.

Nothing really has changed. The ‘seeing’ becomes clearer. And it feels like there is just ‘seeing’ which belongs to no subject.

Everything observable is objective and ephemeral. It is not me. And when I am looking for me, anything I find cannot be me. I cannot find a subject to this world of objects. A big break through last time was being able to see emotions as objects. Now, I see EVERYTHING as objects. All these objects appearing. But to who/what? I don’t really know. In the present there is just the seeing of all these objects.

And in the present... the idea of the future appears as thought. The memories of the past appear. They bring with them emotion. This is more seductive. I get pulled into the story of my past. But then again, everything around me suggests I have a past. The passport I picked up this morning. The photos on my desk etc etc...

And another burning question is around volition. If there is just the noticing of objects as they come and go, who is responsible for the doing? If I cannot find what I am, then from where are choices made and actions taken?

Overall, there is great freedom in being able to see everything from the depths of nowhere. Of course, this brings more questions though!!

RM 🙏

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

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:45 am

Hi Robbie,
Everything observable is objective and ephemeral. It is not me. And when I am looking for me, anything I find cannot be me. I cannot find a subject to this world of objects. A big break through last time was being able to see emotions as objects. Now, I see EVERYTHING as objects. All these objects appearing. But to who/what? I don’t really know. In the present there is just the seeing of all these objects.
It's great that the seeing stayed and even deepened further :)
And in the present... the idea of the future appears as thought. The memories of the past appear. They bring with them emotion. This is more seductive. I get pulled into the story of my past. But then again, everything around me suggests I have a past. The passport I picked up this morning. The photos on my desk etc etc...
In everyday langue, yes there is time and past. But if you look closely this is ultimately not true.

Just notice that all thoughts and appearances of past are also just objects that you are aware of.
Past is not something that is outside of you, past is something that is presently appearing here now.

There is no such thing as a memory appearing.
There are only the current thoughts (verbal + visual).
And just other thoughts label them as ‘memories’.
And all these thoughts that are labelled as memory is appearing NOW.

All thoughts about the past are here now.
Just as all thoughts about the future is here now.
There is nowhere else to go or be than here now. Can you see this?

Can you see that all there is is this very moment, whatever is happening here now?


The past is just a thought.
The future is just a thought.
There is nothing else to them. Can you see this?
But then again, everything around me suggests I have a past.
Are the things as they are here now actually suggesting that you have had a past?
Or things are just appearing here now, and only thoughts comment on them and say that those things are about the past?

And isn’t these commenting thoughts also appear now?


Just notice, the past is here in this present experience, in a form of a thought.
All there is to the past the thoughts of past.
The passport I picked up this morning.
Isn’t the passport here now?

Can you have an experience of a passport outside of this present experience?

Isn’t the date of issue and the date of birth is appearing here now as black letters on the page of the passport that is here now?

And what about the photo? Isn’t that photo a present appearance too, here now, that you are aware of?
Just as another object you know?

Can you have any experience outside of this very moment?

Is there anything that doesn’t happen now?
Can you have a sound that is not appearing now?
Have you ever heard a sound that wasn’t a present sound?

Have you ever seen a photo of the body labelled ‘Robbie” that wasn’t a present appearance?

The photos on my desk etc etc...
If you ignore all thought commentary, is the photo on your desk suggest in any way that it was taken in the past?
Or only thoughts narrate the experience of the photo and interpret it as something that was taken in the past?


Again, I want to emphasizes that in conventional reality the notion of past and time are valid and useful concepts that makes navigating life easier.

But we are not dealing with conventional reality, we are looking how things actually are underneath thoughts, as they are.
And another burning question is around volition. If there is just the noticing of objects as they come and go, who is responsible for the doing? If I cannot find what I am, then from where are choices made and actions taken?
We are going to look into this later.
I think I’ve already given you lots of pointers to look at. :)

You are doing a great inquiry, by the way!

Love,
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 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:44 am

Hi Vivien,

I take these questions with me everywhere for a while before replying!
There is nowhere else to go or be than here now. Can you see this?
Absolutely. Everything could be described as an object appearing now. From the picture to the thoughts that commentate on that picture. It is a 'play' of objects appearing now. There cannot be any appearance outside of the present. I know this to be true and I feel it to be true. There are just 'things' coming and going here and now.

How do they appear? I do not know. To what do they appear? I am unable to find anything because everything time I find something, this something is also observable and cannot be it.

Thank you for all!

RM

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

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:38 am

Nice investigation Robbie, I'm looking forward to your replies for the remaining questions.

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

Postby Vivien » Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:07 am

Hi Robbie,

Here are some exercises to play with :)

Go and make a cup of tea or coffee. As you do this notice whether a 'self' does it. Also notice if there are many or any moments in the whole procedure of going to the kettle, switching it on, getting the cup (etc) when you control the process?

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
Do you choose putting or not putting milk or sugar into the tea (or coffee)?
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
Do you 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
Can a chooser be located?


Here is another exercise.

1. Place both hands on a table in front of you, palms down.
2. When you have done that, rest for a moment and then raise one hand in the air but not the other.

Don't go to thoughts, examine your experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:

What is it exactly that is choosing which hand to raise?
Can you find a self/me or anything that is doing the choosing?

Is there a me/I controlling and moving the hand?
Is there a ‘I’ controlling which hand to raise?
Is there a controller? Where?

How is the decision made?
Is the decision made by an I/self?
Is there a decision maker? Where?


Repeat this many times before replying.

And during the day, whenever it feels like that you are doing, controlling or choosing something, just check if there a thought present making the claim that “I am doing it” or “I decided”.

Let me know what you find.


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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

Postby robbiemac » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:05 pm

Hi Vivien,

I am sure that you will be frustrated with my answers here, sorry.
How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
I think about it and decide that this is what I would like. I understand that I am not my thoughts and that they just appear and that much of what it is that I do is sort of just done for ‘me’ but I really feel as though I decide when and what I want. So much of this thought is based on habit. In other words, I think about coffee around the same time I have coffee every day. And I think about tea at around the same time I think about tea every day. It really feels as though I am thinking about it. In meditation or deep awareness/concentration, I can so clearly see that I am not my thoughts and I can observe them coming and going. But when deciding whether or not I want a cup of tea, it is ‘my’ choice and it comes from habit.
Do you choose putting or not putting milk or sugar into the tea (or coffee)?
No this just happens as it always does. Once I have decided that I would like a cup of tea, I ‘know’ how I have my tea so I add the milk. It’s not really a choice. The choice to have milk and no sugar was made years ago and that is the way I have always had it. And I know this is just a belief! As with the above, the choice isn’t really a choice. It’s just the way I have always done it. Coffee with milk in the morning. Tea with milk in the afternoon.
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?


Not really a choice. Thoughts relating to both arise at the same time in the day. And then I take the necessary steps to make it happen. I wouldn’t say it is so much a choice as a habit. Just what I do. Do I chose or do I believe I have chosen? I’m not sure!
Do you 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
In this instance, I am more able to almost watch myself making it without participating in the making of it. The body just does its thing. I believe that I have decided that I would like coffee and then the body just just performs the act of making it. It feels as though I have the power to choose and then having chosen... it just happens as it should.
Can a chooser be located?
The chooser feels like the person behind the eyes. I think about it in this region and then conclude what I am going to do for there and then it just happens. I should add that I am less attached to the feeling of being behind the eyes BUT I am very attached to being the chooser.
What is it that is choosing which hand to raise?
Again it feel like I am choosing from behind the eyes. Although I sense being behind the eyes and that in itself is leads me to doubt this. I really don’t know! I ask myself that question and then concentrate on deciding, decide to raise my right hand, and raise my right hand. All from behind the eye.
Can you find a self/me or anything that is doing the choosing?
Whereas it feels as though the head is choosing which hand to raise, when you ask who is the chooser... ‘I’ drop deeper and become the one that has no objective quality so I kinda just see the head (that I felt myself to be when choosing) as an object of my awareness. So... when choosing, it is the head that is choosing. When finding the chooser, the head that I felt myself to be in the choosing is nothing more than an appearance. This is tough!!!!
Is there a controller?


Yes, the head is the controller. Even when observed from the deeper point of ‘being’, I would still assert that the head is the place I ‘fall’ into to control.
How is the decision made?
Internal monologue. I ask myself the question and chat (internally) about what I want to do and then I decide (internally) which arm I want to raise. This is how I feel it to be. If I observe the sensation of the head (where I feel all this internal monologue takes place) then nothing happens. I sit as if in meditation with just sensations and I am devoid any engagement or attachment. Just watching.
Is there a decision made by an I/self?


Yes. I really feel as though ‘I’ as a head make this decision. As above, when I watch the senses in the head, nothing happens. For something to happen... ‘I’ must drop into the head to make it happen. It is me.
Is there a decision maker? Where?
Yes. As the head, ‘I’ am the decision maker. When ‘I’ drop deeper to observe the head as a sensation, nothing happens.

But now I am wondering Vivien... am ‘I’ able to perceive the thinking and decision-making of my head? Oh no!!! Perhaps in the same way that I mentioned to you that when I was in the car, I was able to see thoughts rise, appear, and disappear... this might be what is going on now. Maybe I can see the ‘head thinking’ and the choice it makes. And this would be thought right.

Remember I said to you that I felt that thinking and awareness were mutually exclusive until I realised otherwise? This might be the same. Maybe I can see the thoughts that lead to the choices. I am not sure. But it feels like it might be the case!

As always... thank you for guiding me 🙏

RM

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

Postby Vivien » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:16 am

Hi Robbie,
I think about it and decide that this is what I would like.
So you are the thinker?
Is there a thinker at all?


Don’t just quickly say that you are not.
It doesn’t matter what you saw in the past.
If you cannot see it now, you simply cannot see it now.

How do you THINK about whether to make a tea or a coffee?
How do you perform the act of thinking? – this is a literal questions.
Please write me down the EXACT steps of thinking.


Don’t think it through, rather NOTICE how you think that thought. HOW you make it happen, and write it down, step by step.

Where do you get the words from?

Do you know in advance what you are going to think?

I think about coffee around the same time I have coffee every day.
You think about the coffee? HOW?
How do you do that? How do you think about anything?
How do you birth a thought into existence?

When you say "I think about the coffee" - where is this I in this very moment that thinks?
Is there an I that thinks?


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 Oct 03, 2020 7:36 pm

Hi Robbie,
So you are the thinker?
This is what is strange for me. I know that I am not the thinker. I really do. But the exercise with the hands on the table really had me feeling like I was a thinker. The internal monologue would be something like this... ‘move your right hand - no move your left hand - don’t move either - wait for a hand to move - am I doing the thinking or are these thoughts coming in - goodness I don’t know - well I’ll just raise my right hand - okay did I decide to do that or did all those thoughts just appear - this is impossible to know at this point - but I know that when I’m done with it the thoughts will be different but I will still be here to witness them...’. And this is how it goes for me...
Is there a thinker at all?
In exercises that don’t require me to think but rather to observe, I don’t feel like there is a thinker at all. There is no thinking, there are just thoughts. But in exercises that require action, I feel like the thinker. How else do I sit down to do these exercises? Does there not have to be someone to do this? And if so, doesn’t someone have to think about the requirement? I’m sure you’ll say this is intellectual and perhaps it is but it absolutely the way that it feels to me when I’m involved in it. Well shall have to discuss and break it down :)
How do you THINK about whether to make a tea or a coffee?
It starts with a thought. Not my thought but A THOUGHT. And from then there is a series of thoughts and I feel like the very present thinker of these thoughts or if not the thinker then certainly the owner of them. As above, when there is something that requires a specific action, I feel like I am the thinker that fulfils that action.
How do you perform the act of thinking? – this is a literal questions.


Vivien, I cannot be sure and it is a really good question because I see that I don’t. When I investigate this, I am unable to establish a way in which I THINK. I suppose I believe that I think (which I know to be a thought itself) but I cannot perform the thinking. I cannot choose my next thought. I believe I am the one doing the thinking until I look really closely and realise that this is a mistake.
Please write me down the EXACT steps of thinking.
This and the last question have been very helpful in my seeing that I am not the thinker. There really are no steps. Upon investigation, the thoughts just come. I think I am the one thinking them but if I cannot know when my current thought is going to finish and when or what my next thought might be, I am not this thinker.
Don’t think it through, rather NOTICE how you think that thought. HOW you make it happen, and write it down, step by step.
And that’s just it. I get lured into believing I am the one controlling the nature of thought. When it is related to a particular passage or work for instance, I believe that I am the one doing this thinking. But when I really look at this, I have no knowledge of what thought might come next!
Where do you get the words from?
I believe I am the one thinking about how to reply to a question but really the thought with the corresponding worlds just appear. I cannot say that I call on the words or I know what they will be. They just come.
Do you know in advance what you are going to think?
No, and I am realising this now. Your questions have helped enormously, thank you.
You think about the coffee? HOW?
So I don’t think about coffee. The thought arises as and when it does. It is clearer to me now. But there is a lingering question... why the same thought at the same time every day?

How do you do that? How do you think about anything?

I don’t. Thoughts come. Again though... it is interesting to see how the pattern of thought seems to match the subject subject the time. I totally see that I don’t have any involvement in the thinking. But the thinking is often related to what is happening. But then I suppose, often not too.
How do you birth a thought into existence?
I don’t!
When you say "I think about the coffee" - where is this I in this very moment that thinks?
Is there an I that thinks?
‘Where is the I that thinks?’ is a more difficult question than ‘is there and I that thinks?’. I am not a thinker. But I am aware of thinking now. Where am I? Just here. Or so it seems to me anyway.

This is crazy stuff!!!!!!

RM

Vivien

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

Postby Vivien » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:50 am

Hi Robbie,
This is what is strange for me. I know that I am not the thinker. I really do. But the exercise with the hands on the table really had me feeling like I was a thinker.
This knowing is intellectual. If it’s FEELS like that I am the thinker, then it’s not really known. It’s just understood intellectually. But needs to be seen experientially, to be recognized as a FACT of reality.
The internal monologue would be something like this... ‘
What is it exactly that is thinking the internal monologue?
Here now, where is the one that is thinking the internal monologue?
The ‘voice in the head’ is the one thinking it?
In exercises that don’t require me to think but rather to observe, I don’t feel like there is a thinker at all.
OK, so let’s look at what happens here. The belief in a separate self is still there, and in one moment it is being identified as the thinker, and in other moments as the observer.

But is there actually an entity who sometimes thinks but other times observes?
But in exercises that require action, I feel like the thinker. How else do I sit down to do these exercises? Does there not have to be someone to do this? And if so, doesn’t someone have to think about the requirement? I’m sure you’ll say this is intellectual and perhaps it is but it absolutely the way that it feels to me when I’m involved in it. Well shall have to discuss and break it down :)
This is definitely intellectual.

No-one is needed to thoughts to happen.
No-one is needed to for a thought of “let’s do the exercise” to happen.
No-one is needed for the body to sit down.
No-one is needed for there be an investigation.
All of these happen automatically.
It starts with a thought. Not my thought but A THOUGHT. And from then there is a series of thoughts and I feel like the very present thinker of these thoughts or if not the thinker then certainly the owner of them.
OK, then here now, find the owner of thoughts.

Where is the owner in this very moment?
Does the ‘voice in the head’ own thoughts?
Do thoughts own thoughts?
Do bodily sensations own thoughts?
Does the thought of I own thoughts?
Where is this owner? Is there at all?
Vivien, I cannot be sure and it is a really good question because I see that I don’t. When I investigate this, I am unable to establish a way in which I THINK. I suppose I believe that I think (which I know to be a thought itself) but I cannot perform the thinking. I cannot choose my next thought. I believe I am the one doing the thinking until I look really closely and realise that this is a mistake.
OK, then this is what you have to investigate hundreds of times. Again and again and again, and a bit more…

Is there an I thinking the thought of “I am thinking”? Or the thought of “I think” just appears automatically?
I believe I am the one thinking about how to reply to a question but really the thought with the corresponding worlds just appear. I cannot say that I call on the words or I know what they will be. They just come.
So the words come to YOU?
What is this you that thoughts come to?
Is there an actual I other than the thought ‘I’?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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