Shut the Gate

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:13 pm

Hi Vivien,

Is part of the strategy to annoy me? If so, it's working great.
It’s not possible to communicate it as it is, but it can be recognized when a comment is coming from seeing and not from thinking.
Sure. It can also be recognised when a comment is coming from someone being reductive.
These are not metaphors or figurative speaking.
The term trope can also mean cliché or overused device. I meant it in that sense.
But it’s not about the right pointer. It’s about discovering where you are tripping over and look into the direction that the pointer is pointing to.
But surely clearer pointing in the direction of the tripping would help one discover where one was tripping.
The heart is literally a concept. But don’t take my words for it, but check it for yourself.
No dispute that "the heart" is a concept. I was saying that pointing such things out is a bit of a spiritual cliché.
And your intellectual understanding is literally in the way.
Why? Since with intellectual understanding there is a stance that “I already know’.
Aren't you claiming that "you already know" that I'm being overintellectual? How can you be so certain that you've read me correctly? Absolutely no chance you're being reductive? In any case, let me be clear, I definitely do not trust my intellect to know what lies beyond it. Once again, I definitely do not trust my intellect to know what lies beyond it. It simply does not know what it does not know. So, now where does that leave your claim?
Just because you cannot see clearly with a pointer, it doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the pointer.
Maybe you don't know how to look. Or maybe you are judging the pointer according to some standards, which prevents you to actually investigate.
Interesting that you can't entertain the possibility that you could perhaps improve your communication.

As I said, I will sit with the questions. I will just observe.

With thanks,
Nelson

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Vivien
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:30 am

Hi Nelson,
Is part of the strategy to annoy me? If so, it's working great.
You can look for the one who is annoyed. Look for the annoyed me.

If you feel offended, you can inquire into the one who is offended and needs to protect itself from the perceived threat or attach. Inquiring into this is always useful. Since when you feel annoyed and offended then it’s a sure sign that there is a perceived ME who is hurt, angry and annoyed and needs to protect itself.

This forum, unlikely other forums, is not about sharing ideas and arguing over them. This forum is solely for inquiry. We are all volunteer guides here, giving our time freely.

If you don’t like how this forum works, or don’t like my comments and pointers, then we can stop. Thus we won’t waste either your or my time, and I can pick up another person whom I can help.

It’s your choice. But what happened on this thread so far is not what is forum about.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:13 am

Hi Vivien,

I, too, would prefer it if we would just stick to the inquiry. There seems, however, to be double standards. Whist I’m (understandably) instructed to not have expectations, it seems you can freely tell me what not to expect. Whilst I’m (understandably) instructed to not speculate, you can freely speculate when you comment.

Look, I’m not personally offended. What I wrote was just my authentic response, as righteously indignant as it was. In any case, I’m not going anywhere.

Hereon, I will be focusing on describing my experience only. If either one of us speculates, I think the other has a right to disregard it.

For now, I will continue to meditate on the below questions as you asked me to, and I will describe my experience to you tomorrow, and then await further instructions from you.

Questions:
What do I do in order to think?
What is being done in order for thoughts to happen?

With thanks,
Nelson

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:36 am

Hi Vivien,
What do I do in order to think?

“I” do not do anything in order to think. Thinking just arises in consciousness on its own. If I’m feeling synonymous with the “I”, it can seem like I’m directing thinking by way of intention. However, if I continue to observe that experience of it seeming like I’m directing thinking, again it becomes apparent that thoughts are just manifesting on their own.

What is being done in order for thoughts to happen?

Essentially, the answer/description is the same as above, and as the one I gave originally re watching thoughts:
I can notice/observe that thinking arises on its own out of a sort of nothingness, sometimes in response to stimuli, but often not. At first, thinking appears as a murmur or a subtle movement of energy. Then, it might manifest as an image, a bit of language, some inner talk, etc., before it eventually dissipates and returns to that nothingness again.

Where to from here?

With thanks,
Nelson

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Vivien
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:31 am

Hi Nelson,

Is there an I thinking thoughts?
Who or what is thinking thoughts?
Is the I the thinker, or a thought?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:52 am

Hi Vivien,
Is there an “I” thinking thoughts?
If I’m to be frank about my experience, it seems like there is an “I” thinking thoughts when I’m going about my life, you know, lost in thought, a little bit stressed, fatigued, etc.—which is a fair chunk of the day. However, when I turn my awareness on the “I” and observe it, it becomes apparent fairly quickly that there is no separate, enduring self entity thinking thoughts.
Who or what is thinking thoughts?
There is no who or what thinking thoughts that I can observe. What’s there is not really a thing or entity. It’s more like a changing, evolving process; a flow, a wave, etc.—nothing that I can easily put in words.
Is the “I” the thinker, or a thought?
No, the “I” is not an (actual, real, concrete, etc.) thinker. Rather, it is a thought of one, a mental construct of one, a projection of one, etc. Which is to say, I cannot perceive a thinker through the bodily senses (seeing, hearing, touching, etc) when I observe it, only seemingly through the mind sense, but then when I observe the perception of the apparent thinker in the mind more carefully, it dissolves.

With thanks,
Nelson

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Vivien
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:06 am

Hi Nelson,
If I’m to be frank about my experience, it seems like there is an “I” thinking thoughts when I’m going about my life, you know, lost in thought, a little bit stressed, fatigued, etc.—which is a fair chunk of the day. However, when I turn my awareness on the “I” and observe it, it becomes apparent fairly quickly that there is no separate, enduring self entity thinking thoughts.
Then you have incorporate looking into your everyday life. Look if there is an I thinking thoughts as often as possible in the midst of your busy life, even if just for 20 seconds each.

Let me know what happens if you look in the midst of your daily life.
I cannot perceive a thinker through the bodily senses (seeing, hearing, touching, etc) when I observe it, only seemingly through the mind sense,
What is a mind-sense? Can a mind sense?
And what mind? Is there an actual mind in experience?
What is mind in this very moment as you observe it?
but then when I observe the perception of the apparent thinker in the mind more carefully, it dissolves.
So you can search for a thinker in a mind? Where is this mind you are searching through?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:22 pm

Hi Vivien,
Then you have to incorporate looking into your everyday life. Look if there is an “I” thinking thoughts as often as possible in the midst of your busy life, even if just for 20 seconds each. Let me know what happens if you look in the midst of your daily life.
Yes, I agree. Will do.

What is a mind-sense?
We don’t really need to call it that, but I was just borrowing the term from Buddhism because it’s convenient. The view in Buddhism is that the mind is simply another function in a human being, like the bodily senses. In the West, the tendency is to identify with the mind, but view the body and its senses with detachment. Based on my experience, it doesn’t make sense to do that, so I adopt the view of the mind as just another sort of sense. In other words, the mind is simply functioning by itself, like the body, as far as I can tell.

Can a mind sense?
Again, we don’t really need to use the term “sense”, but the basic point here is that, in the same way we become aware of sights through our visual sense, we become aware of thoughts through our mind sense. Moreover, in the same way we can only become aware of sounds through the channel of our auditory sense (not through the other bodily senses: visual, gustatory, olfactory, etc.), we can only become aware of thoughts through our mind sense. So, in short, what does the mind sense? Thoughts (i.e. mental phenomena).

And what mind? Is there an actual mind in experience?
Yes. It’s ethereal, intangible, transparent, etc., but it exists in my experience.
What is mind in this very moment as you observe it?
The mind is a channel in consciousness within which thoughts appear, you know, things like inner talk, memories, visualisations, catchy songs, etc.
So you can search for a thinker in a mind?
I can search for the concept of thinker in my mind (i.e. a thought of a thinker). There is no actual thinker (i.e. no separate, enduring self entity that is the thinker of thoughts).
Where is this mind you are searching through?
The mind/thoughts are not visual phenomena, so they won’t have corresponding spatial coordinates, no location, no “where”. To ask where the mind is/thoughts are, is a bit like asking someone to see sounds or hear smells, don't you think? Basically, we're not using the appropriate channel of consciousness or sense door with which to observe.


Are you suggesting that there is no mind? That you don’t experience a mind?

With thanks,
Nelson

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:26 pm

Hi Vivien,
Then you have to incorporate looking into your everyday life. Look if there is an “I” thinking thoughts as often as possible in the midst of your busy life, even if just for 20 seconds each. Let me know what happens if you look in the midst of your daily life.
Yes, I agree. Will do.

What is a mind-sense?
We don’t really need to call it that, but I was just borrowing the term from Buddhism because it’s convenient. The view in Buddhism is that the mind is simply another function in a human being, like the bodily senses. In the West, the tendency is to identify with the mind, but view the body and its senses with detachment. Based on my experience, it doesn’t make sense to do that, so I adopt the view of the mind as just another sort of sense. In other words, the mind is simply functioning by itself, like the body, as far as I can tell.

Can a mind sense?
Again, we don’t really need to use the term “sense”, but the basic point here is that, in the same way we become aware of sights through our visual sense, we become aware of thoughts through our mind sense. Moreover, in the same way we can only become aware of sounds through the channel of our auditory sense (not through the other bodily senses: visual, gustatory, olfactory, etc.), we can only become aware of thoughts through our mind sense. So, in short, what does the mind sense? Thoughts (i.e. mental phenomena).

And what mind? Is there an actual mind in experience?
Yes. It’s ethereal, intangible, transparent, etc., but it exists in my experience.
What is mind in this very moment as you observe it?
The mind is a channel in consciousness within which thoughts appear, things like inner talk, memories, visualisations, catchy songs, etc.
So you can search for a thinker in a mind?
I can search for the concept of thinker in my mind (i.e. a thought of a thinker). There is no actual thinker (i.e. no separate, enduring self entity that is the thinker of thoughts).
Where is this mind you are searching through?
The mind/thoughts are not visual phenomena, so they won’t have corresponding spatial coordinates, no location, no “where”. To ask where the mind is/thoughts are, is a bit like asking someone to see sounds or hear smells, don't you think? Basically, we're not using the appropriate channel of consciousness or sense door with which to observe.


Are you suggesting that there is no mind? Or that you don’t experience a mind?

With thanks,
Nelson

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Vivien
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Vivien » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:35 am

Hi Nelson,
We don’t really need to call it that, but I was just borrowing the term from Buddhism because it’s convenient. The view in Buddhism is that the mind is simply another function in a human being, like the bodily senses. In the West, the tendency is to identify with the mind, but view the body and its senses with detachment. Based on my experience, it doesn’t make sense to do that, so I adopt the view of the mind as just another sort of sense. In other words, the mind is simply functioning by itself, like the body, as far as I can tell.
As long as you adopt views, which is just another belief, you are blocking yourself to notice what is here right now, without any views.

You have to drop everything you ever learned about this topic.
If your cup is full, there is no place to discover something new.
To discover how things actually are.
Again, we don’t really need to use the term “sense”, but the basic point here is that, in the same way we become aware of sights through our visual sense, we become aware of thoughts through our mind sense.
You are not looking. You are writing down your beliefs.
And this is exactly what I’m asking you to question. To question your beliefs.
You say that you are aware of thought THROUGH mind sense.
This is exactly what I ask you to investigate.
If there is a mind-sense or anything at all which THROUGH you get aware of thoughts.
Moreover, in the same way we can only become aware of sounds through the channel of our auditory sense
This is also a conceptual answer. It’s not coming from looking at experience directly. This is thinking, not looking.
we can only become aware of thoughts through our mind sense
This is a belief, an assumption.
You have to put aside everything you’ve ever learned.
And rely only your immediate experience.
V: And what mind? Is there an actual mind in experience?
N: Yes. It’s ethereal, intangible, transparent, etc., but it exists in my experience.
You are not looking. You are thinking.
The mind is a channel in consciousness within which thoughts appear, you know, things like inner talk, memories, visualisations, catchy songs, etc.
More thinking.
I can search for the concept of thinker in my mind (i.e. a thought of a thinker).
You are assuming that there is a mind. Mind is a big belief. But you have to SEE it for yourself.
The mind/thoughts are not visual phenomena, so they won’t have corresponding spatial coordinates, no location, no “where”. To ask where the mind is/thoughts are, is a bit like asking someone to see sounds or hear smells, don't you think? Basically, we're not using the appropriate channel of consciousness or sense door with which to observe.
Nelson, your whole reply came from thinking.
You might disagree, but this is my job to point out for you that you are not looking.
You might THINK that you look, but you don’t.

This is a total dead-end.
Thinking won’t help you.
It’s not possible.
Are you suggesting that there is no mind? That you don’t experience a mind?
Nobody experiences mind. Mind is just another man-made concept without any root in reality.
But you have to see if for yourself.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:41 am

Hi Vivien,

I’ll try to describe to you how I’m going about the inquiry and perhaps you can tell me where you think I might be going wrong.

Say, for example, I‘m meditating on a question like “What is a mind sense?” or “Can a mind sense?”. I will typically start by reciting the question to myself a couple times, and then I will shift out of language and abstract thinking to observe my experience in silence. I will usually remain silently observing for at least a minute or two, before repeating the process as many times as possible. Of course, thoughts, answers, theories, etc. will come up, but whilst I’m silently observing, I just watch them and/or let that mental activity pass away.

In the state of silent observing, the questions usually fall away, so too does any sense in giving answers. However, there is an awareness present that is sort of knowing the experience of silent observing, and that awareness can sort of scan experience and understand it directly, pre-linguistically.

When it then comes time to write my response to you, it seems I have to pick up language and abstract thinking again in order to communicate, in order to describe my experience, and, yes, in order to interpret and make sense of it to some degree. The way I’m doin that, I believe, is by combining the intuitions brought forth from that awareness of silent observing with my memory of it and, yes, my (tentative) views. I really don’t know how we can make sense of the world or our experience of the world without having views. Perhaps you can shed some light here.

Nobody experiences mind. Mind is just another man-made concept without any root in reality.

I’m not trying to be difficult here, but going by your logic, isn’t this also just a view, just a belief, etc.? Moreover, how can you decide what is rooted in reality without using your discriminating mind (i.e., discriminating between what is and what is not rooted in reality)? If you are using your discriminating mind, aren’t you “just thinking” too?

With thanks,
Nelson

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Vivien
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:11 am

Hi Nelson,
I’m not trying to be difficult here, but going by your logic, isn’t this also just a view, just a belief, etc.? Moreover, how can you decide what is rooted in reality without using your discriminating mind (i.e., discriminating between what is and what is not rooted in reality)? If you are using your discriminating mind, aren’t you “just thinking” too?
What I am saying is not coming from logic, but from direct, immediate experience.

The thing is that we (all humans) have difficulties with distinguishing between experience and thought. We often fall for our thoughts and mistaking them with reality. This is how the self illusion is created, by believing the content of thoughts and not seeing that those are just thoughts. But no thought contains any experience.

So in order to be able to see that the mind is just a concept and nothing more, first, we have to be able to see clearly the difference between thought (imagination) and experience (reality).

This is very important.
Say, for example, I‘m meditating on a question like “What is a mind sense?” or “Can a mind sense?”. I will typically start by reciting the question to myself a couple times, and then I will shift out of language and abstract thinking to observe my experience in silence. I will usually remain silently observing for at least a minute or two, before repeating the process as many times as possible. Of course, thoughts, answers, theories, etc. will come up, but whilst I’m silently observing, I just watch them and/or let that mental activity pass away.
Thank you for sharing how you investigate.

This sounds good as long as you stay focused looking and searching for the thing that the question is pointing to. If the questions are about a mind, then you need to look for an actual experience of a mind.
But the illusionary nature of thoughts easily kicks in, and we often mistake visual images with actual experiences. Mind often appear as a visual (mental) image (as some kind of black place or some sort of a placeholder and origin of thought, in which thoughts appear in and known with), and when we don’t see this only as a visual thought, we mistake it with reality.
In the state of silent observing, the questions usually fall away, so too does any sense in giving answers. However, there is an awareness present that is sort of knowing the experience of silent observing, and that awareness can sort of scan experience and understand it directly, pre-linguistically.
Yes. So this is the state how to look.
When it then comes time to write my response to you, it seems I have to pick up language and abstract thinking again in order to communicate, in order to describe my experience, and, yes, in order to interpret and make sense of it to some degree
OK. Yes, we need to use langue in order to communicate. But there is a big difference between finding words that describe what has been seen as precisely as possible without adding anything extra, and interpreting what has been seen.

Interpretation is an added extra, which is being distorted by our prior knowledge and beliefs.
So we interpreted our experience in a way that fits into our knowledge and beliefs.
We interpret through the lens of our beliefs. Thus we distort the raw experience.

But what we are doing here is quite the opposite.
We compare our raw experience with our beliefs and assumptions, to see if our assumptions can stand up to scrutiny.

So I’m going to give you very simple exercises in the following days to see the difference between thoughts and experience. Seeing this will be the bases of our inquiry.

Do you drink coffee or tea? Next time when you drink it, please investigate what is the difference between thinking about coffee and experiencing the coffee.

Is it possible to look at the coffee without thinking “this is a coffee, and I’m going to drink it”? Is it possible to EXPERIENCE it only by looking at it and SEEING it without thinking about it?

And when you take a sip, is it possible to just FEEL the warmth of it, without analysing and thinking why it’s warm, and how long will it stay warm?

And is it possible just to experience the TASTE of it, without analysing it, or thinking how bitter it is, or whether it needs some sweetener or not?

Is it possible to EXPERIENCE the SMELL of the coffee, without thinking “this smell reminds me of his or that”?


I would like to ask you to really try this out in reality, and not just think it through. In other words, not just think about it.
But of course, thoughts about it might happen! But that’s all right. You just ignore the thoughts, and you turn your attention to experiencing.

Do you see, I’m asking you the same thing: not just to think it through what I wrote above, but actually do it in experience. Do you see the difference?


This difference will be the basis of our investigation.
You cannot experience (see, feel, taste, smell) the coffee by thinking. You literally have to experience it.

Do you see clearly the difference between thinking and experiencing?

Please experiment throughout the day with all sorts of things. Like having dinner, washing your hands, going up a staircase, ect.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:53 am

Hi Vivien,
Do you see clearly the difference between thinking and experiencing?

Whilst I know I probably haven’t convinced you of this yet, yes, I feel the distinction between thinking and experiencing is quite clear to me. That said, I won't pretend like I know everything there is to know about experience-based consciousness, but I do believe I can discern quite well the difference between various modes of thinking and what you've called "raw experience".

So in order to be able to see that the mind is just a concept and nothing more, first, we have to be able to see clearly the difference between thought (imagination) and experience (reality).

I think here is where you and I might be running into problems. Whilst “the mind” is indeed a concept, I believe you might be overstating a bit the falsity of such a concept. I would say that the notion of a mind is very much grounded in reality, but we can’t get at that reality by relying on non-symbolic consciousness alone. We need some thought, we need to be able to infer truth, we need objective/empirical data, etc. But, going by what you’ve stated above, it seems you believe that thought is more or less synonymous with fantasy and only “raw experience” can get at reality.

For me, the problem with this view is that “reality” is itself a concept, and it is one that raw experience does not validate (or invalidate). We could inquire in experience “What is reality” or “Where is reality?”, but raw experience does not seem to distinguish between reality and non-reality. Raw experience doesn’t even seem to distinguish between thinking and experiencing. From the perspective of non-symbolic consciousness, thinking happens within, or as part of, experience.

Perhaps if we take concepts like “Covid-19” or “internet forums” or “gravity” as other examples. With these notions, we would find no evidence in raw experience either. However, I don’t think we would be tempted to deny their coherence with reality. But, again, we have to get at their truthfulness by using some objective thought in addition to our direct experience.

Having said all that, I want to make it clear that I do agree with you that shifting out of thinking and into experiencing is the key to understanding ourselves and reality more deeply. Moreover, I want to make it clear that I don’t doubt that you’ve had significant insights into the nature of consciousness by way of exploring your raw experience. (I don’t know how, but I can sort of intuit/feel the truth of that.) However, I think you might be making a mistake when you make claims like the one above, and I suppose as your contemplative peer/friend, in addition to someone you're guiding here, I feel like I owe it to you to be honest with you about that. Unfortunately, if everything I say gets dismissed as mere intellectualising or mere thinking, I’m not sure how to go about it.

With thanks,
Nelson

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Vivien
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:09 am

Hi Nelson,
Whilst I know I probably haven’t convinced you of this yet, yes, I feel the distinction between thinking and experiencing is quite clear to me. That said, I won't pretend like I know everything there is to know about experience-based consciousness, but I do believe I can discern quite well the difference between various modes of thinking and what you've called "raw experience".
Your mere words of saying this is not enough. You didn’t do the exercise, or at least you didn’t share with me what you’ve found.
Unfortunately, if everything I say gets dismissed as mere intellectualising or mere thinking, I’m not sure how to go about it.
Yes, the thing is that we cannot go on like this. What I can offer you doesn’t please or interest you. That’s all right, there is no problem with that. I suggest let this go.

I wish you all the best with your inquiry,
Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Nels
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Re: Shut the Gate

Postby Nels » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:06 am

Hi Vivien,

Your mere words of saying this is not enough. You didn’t do the exercise, or at least you didn’t share with me what you’ve found.

I suppose I can understand your need to be so skeptical, given the nature of forums, but I think a basic degree of trust in the person you're working with goes a long way to having a successful inquiry.

Yes, the thing is that we cannot go on like this. What I can offer you doesn’t please or interest you. That’s all right, there is no problem with that. I suggest let this go.

Unfortunately, you might be right.

Paradoxically, whilst the inquiry hasn't gone so well, I feel I've benefited from the process all the same. I feel I've more clarity now than I did at the start, so I'm grateful for that.

Thank you sincerely for your time and effort.

All the best,
Nelson


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