Requesting a guide

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gnoneme
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Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:59 am

Hello,

I came across Liberation Unleashed a while ago and I've been interested in this community ever since. However, I just now decided to sign up. Is anyone interested in guiding me?

I'm familiar with meditation (but never maintained a steady practice) and I enjoy reading about philosophy, non-duality, and psychology. I never dove deep into any kind of self-investigation, but LU's approach resonates with me. I'm committed to waking up!

Thank you,
Prabh (from San Francisco, United States)

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:45 pm

Hi Prabh and welcome

My name's Pete and I live in Somerset, England.

There are a few things that we need to go over so that I know the best way for us to continue.

Please tell me a bit more about yourself and what it is that you're looking for.

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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gnoneme
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:11 am

Hi Pete,

It's nice to meet you virtually. Here's a little about me:

I recently graduated from college and am now working in a non-profit organization, which keeps me busy ... but lately, I've realized that it also keeps me distracted from investigating myself (thoughts, reactions, etc). I found out about Liberation Unleashed through a web forum several months ago, and the fact that it allows one to work with a guide really appealed to me (especially since a relationship with a guide will hold me accountable to investigate further).

Jed McKenna's book Spiritual Enlightenment, the Damnedest Thing initially got me interested in liberation/awakening/enlightenment. Before reading the book, I had always thought that liberation was achieved through countless hours of meditation and contemplation. But, since reading the book, I became interested in non-duality, the direct pointing method, and more. When I first found out about LU, I quickly gobbled up Gateless Gatecrashers, but only now did I decide to request guidance.
what it is that you're looking for
That's a great, and difficult, question. I'm largely content with my life, but I feel as if there's something that I'm missing or have overlooked. Am I nothing more than just a collection of my thoughts? This started off as an intellectual curiosity, but it has now blossomed into full-on seeking.

Thanks for offering your help!

~Prabh

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:41 pm

Hi Prabh,

Thanks for letting me know about yourself, your background, what it is you're looking for and how you came to LU. I'd be very happy to guide you through so that you can clearly see for yourself that there is no separate self.

As I've already said, I live in Somerset in the UK, but the time difference with you in the California should be no problem at all. I usually post during the afternoon, sometimes late morning here in the UK.

So anyway Prabh, there are a few things that we need to go over before the journey begins.

There are a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://liberationunleashed.com/articles ... xperience/ for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation.

Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, and that you agree to the disclaimer.

So, let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

And don't worry, I don't intend all my posts to be this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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gnoneme
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:59 am

Hi Pete,

I confirm that I'll follow your suggestions, that I've seen the resources you pointed me to, and that I agree to the disclaimer. And thank you for the tips on how to use the forum. The subscribe feature is pretty handy.
What are your expectations for this process?
I expect a perception shift ... a change of some sort, even though I don't know what it'll be. I also want to use this is an opportunity to practice self-investigation, i.e. develop concrete habits/mental tools that I can use to examine myself further. I also expect my life to change in some way, or at least become accepting of those parts of my life that I find to be less-than-ideal.
What is it that you are searching for?
Hope you don't mind me sharing this, but the "it" for me resembles a fleeting experience I had while on a psychedelic trip a couple of years ago. My memory of the experience is fuzzy, but I distinctly remember a complete absence of fear and a realization that "it's all made up" (in the sense that all of my worries/fears, and that of everyone I know, were fabrications). After coming down from the trip, even though I didn't feel it as compellingly as I did before, the realization stuck with me on an intellectual level. Since then, I've wanted to return to that state of being, and to that sense of peace.
How will you know that you found it?
I expect a difference in my perception, and I hope that the shift, if there is one, will be noticeable to me.
How will this feel?
A few adjectives/phrases come to mind: relaxing; absence of fear; struck with wonder; an unforgettable understanding of what I am.
How will this change you?
I think any change will stem from the change in perception. If I start to view myself and my surroundings differently, then I expect to start interpreting things differently, which in turn could lead to changes in how I behave and act.

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:19 pm

Hi Prabh,
Hope you don't mind me sharing this, but the "it" for me resembles a fleeting experience I had while on a psychedelic trip a couple of years ago. My memory of the experience is fuzzy, but I distinctly remember a complete absence of fear and a realization that "it's all made up" (in the sense that all of my worries/fears, and that of everyone I know, were fabrications). After coming down from the trip, even though I didn't feel it as compellingly as I did before, the realization stuck with me on an intellectual level. Since then, I've wanted to return to that state of being, and to that sense of peace.
Yeah, I can relate to that. Quite a while back now, I took a lot of trips, and that's what started me seeking. But you should know that this isn't about attaining states. They just come and go, and, if pleasant, are then desired again. Seeing that there's no separate self, when seen for a fact and true, becomes from then on unshakeably known to be so. More on that later ...
I expect a perception shift ... a change of some sort, even though I don't know what it'll be. I also want to use this is an opportunity to practice self-investigation, i.e. develop concrete habits/mental tools that I can use to examine myself further. I also expect my life to change in some way, or at least become accepting of those parts of my life that I find to be less-than-ideal.
Thanks for sharing your expectations, part of which I've quoted above, and your understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might and might not be like. It's certainly good that your expectations are quite straightforward and not too unrealistic. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's very helpful if you can put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a 'you', a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

So, as I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. As I briefly touched on above, there is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.

Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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gnoneme
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:22 am

(Hi Pete,

I'm traveling tonight to see my folks over Independence Day weekend, and so I don't have a chance to write much tonight. I'm splitting my response: a short part 1 is below, and I'll post a more thoughtful part 2 (reacting to the two sets of questions you posed) tomorrow.

Thanks for understanding!
-Prabh)

*PART 1*

It's great to meet a fellow psycho-naut :)

Many thanks for setting a few guideposts right from the start. The Santa example was helpful, haha.

I do have a question about "looking in direct experience": I can see how thinking can be counter-productive, but I feel as if that is all that I know how to do. What exactly does it mean to 'look'? Is it the simple act of observing all sensations, thoughts, etc? For example, observing the sensations of the keyboard keys on my fingertips? If so, I find that my thoughts immediately interject. Do you have any suggestions on how to look? Or am I over-complicating this?

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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:35 pm

Hi Prabh,
I'm traveling tonight to see my folks over Independence Day weekend, and so I don't have a chance to write much tonight. I'm splitting my response: a short part 1 is below, and I'll post a more thoughtful part 2 (reacting to the two sets of questions you posed) tomorrow.
Ok, great. Thanks for letting me know.
I do have a question about "looking in direct experience": I can see how thinking can be counter-productive, but I feel as if that is all that I know how to do. What exactly does it mean to 'look'? Is it the simple act of observing all sensations, thoughts, etc? For example, observing the sensations of the keyboard keys on my fingertips? If so, I find that my thoughts immediately interject. Do you have any suggestions on how to look? Or am I over-complicating this?
Hmm, essentially what we'll be doing here is getting you to see whether there's really any 'you' anywhere doing anything. But more of that later. To 'look' is just shorthand for simply being present and aware of what's going on for you right now. In a relaxed way, as you probably often do. No effort required, trying is not helpful. That includes being aware of thoughts arising, as well as what's seen, heard, tasted, touched and smelled. Thinking is pretty much always there, nothing wrong with it, it's just part of life like anything else. The only problem is when the concepts that thought brings are confused with reality and taken as such. But yeah, just sit (or stand, lay down, whatever) and allow yourself to be aware of what's going on. The sensations when typing is a good one. And when you become aware that a thought has dragged you away, just gently come back to being aware of this, just this.

Enjoy Independence Day weekend:)

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:11 am

Hi Pete,

It was a little funny celebrating 4th of July while talking to you over the past couple of days :p I've always wondered what Brits think of it, haha ...

Thanks for describing looking; I was definitely over-complicating it. I realized that a good way to catch my thoughts from drifting is by noticing when I start staring off into space, lost in thought, ignoring the detail that I see and instead thinking through some past or future event.

And here's part 2 of my response to your earlier post:
... just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can: Nothing exists outside the present moment. Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
The current moment is infinitely divisible. I can't isolate a single 'frame' from the current moment (as if it were a video). It is constantly changing. There is some regularity though, such as the room I am in, the clothes I am wearing, the fan that's whirring, etc. Some of it rests within my awareness (like my room), but most of it rests outside of my awareness (like a random room in China). The "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" question comes to mind, to which my gut answers "of course!", but it does invite more consideration ...

Regardless, nothing at all exists outside the present moment. I can remember past moments and envision future moments, and sometimes the feelings that arise from these thoughts (like anxiety about an unfinished task) make it seem as if those past & future moments are actually occurring, but they are not. The constantly changing present moment is all there is, and my thoughts give rise to everything else. It's remarkably easy to lose sight of this fact, and to get caught up in the tales my mind spins up!
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
I seem to be this discrete unit, and my surroundings appear to start where my skin ends. I can constantly see my hands, feet, etc and so they appear to be 'mine'. However, I know that the objects in my possession (like this computer) are not 'mine' or 'owned' by me.

I seem to have, or at least I hold onto, an identity that's a patchwork of my interests, past experiences, associations, etc. When my name is called out, I know that it refers to me. When I tell a story to friends, it is from my point of view. Events seem to happen 'to me', such as a mosquito bite on my arm.

In a way, I am at the very center of all experience known to me, like the center dot on a radar display. When I turn my head toward a different direction, my perspective and experience changes accordingly.
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
'I' seem to reside within my head, sandwiched in between all of my senses, looking out into my surroundings. Everything seen seems to be seen by 'me', as if there is an 'experiencer' here at all times. As the present moment changes, that change seems to be registered by me. However, I (intellectually) understand that this is an illusion. An 'I'/'me' is not necessary for an event, or the observation of that event, to occur.

It's a pretty sticky illusion though! Even as I look at the present moment for what it is, and avoid assigning labels onto everything observed, the presence of an 'I'/'me' remains strong as ever.

Wishing you well,
Prabh

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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:52 pm

Hi Prabh,
It was a little funny celebrating 4th of July while talking to you over the past couple of days :p I've always wondered what Brits think of it, haha ...
Yeah, it doesn't crop up a lot over here, probably because we were on the losing end. Things have been a lot better between us since then though:)
Thanks for describing looking; I was definitely over-complicating it. I realized that a good way to catch my thoughts from drifting is by noticing when I start staring off into space, lost in thought, ignoring the detail that I see and instead thinking through some past or future event.
Absolutely. You got it.
nothing at all exists outside the present moment. I can remember past moments and envision future moments, and sometimes the feelings that arise from these thoughts (like anxiety about an unfinished task) make it seem as if those past & future moments are actually occurring, but they are not. The constantly changing present moment is all there is, and my thoughts give rise to everything else. It's remarkably easy to lose sight of this fact, and to get caught up in the tales my mind spins up!
Couldn't have put it any better myself.
I seem to have, or at least I hold onto, an identity that's a patchwork of my interests, past experiences, associations, etc. When my name is called out, I know that it refers to me. When I tell a story to friends, it is from my point of view. Events seem to happen 'to me', such as a mosquito bite on my arm.
In a way, I am at the very center of all experience known to me, like the center dot on a radar display. When I turn my head toward a different direction, my perspective and experience changes accordingly.
Thanks, that gives me a good idea of your perspective, shared one way or another with most folks.
However, I (intellectually) understand that this is an illusion. An 'I'/'me' is not necessary for an event, or the observation of that event, to occur.
This is so. Now, I'll start to guide you to look to see that there's no 'you' to be found anywhere in 'your' direct experience. I like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process of looking, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within each and every area of experience where a separate self might be found.

As I'm sure you'll have seen, the initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience, which is, as I say, where I'll be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post, and you might want to have another look at that.

As I keep saying, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

So anyway, let's start at last investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


And there's no need to put in any extra effort or trying here Prabh. Just approach it all in a relaxed, natural, even playful way.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:06 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for pointing me to the article on DE again. It sunk in deeper after a second reading, and after having chatted with you some. And, thanks also for the prompt to approach this in a relaxed/playful way; it's as if you anticipated my natural inclination to do just the opposite.
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?
I'm looking at my big toe, covered by a purple blanket. The colors, shapes, textures, shadows, folds, etc, are all seen. It is all seen from a few feet away by a pair of eyes. When the eyes are closed, nothing is seen.

An 'I' is invoked as soon as a thought (e.g. "looking at my toe so intently feels like that one scene from Kill Bill") occurs. In the gaps between thoughts, the seeing remains, but the 'I' dissolves away somewhat. It doesn't dissolve away completely, but I feel a unique stillness.

While looking at the toe, I also feel a bit of frustration. This feeling is manifested in my thoughts -- "What am I supposed to realize by looking at my damn toe? What am I not getting? How long am I supposed to look? ..." -- and as tightness in my chest and throat. These feelings dissipate when I relax into the experience of seeing the toe by allowing my thoughts to quiet down to a point where I barely register them.
If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
The border between the seen and the seer seems to be the surface of my body. There appear to be two different sets of things: my body and everything inside of it, and everything else that is outside of my body. 'I' seem to reside within my body, looking outward through my senses. The seeing process involves both the seer and the seen. It appears as if that without both the seer and the seen, nothing could be experienced.

However, the seer is not a necessary condition for seeing to occur. A video camera technically sees as well, but there is no entity inside of the camera that is orchestrating/'doing' the seeing. Light bouncing off from the seen object simply enters the camera lens, and that's that.
Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
I focused in on the heard (cars whizzing by on a nearby freeway), tasted (after-taste of a recent meal), felt (my back against a well), and smelled (a ripe lychee just a few feet away), and I noticed that these experiences are constantly happening whether or not the spotlight of my attention is shined on them. As I drew away my focus from one sensed thing and applied it to another, the 'content' of my senses changed accordingly, as did the the intensity of the sensing.

These experiences were just ... happening ... whether or not 'I' consciously willed them to occur. But, since all of the sensing seems to converge at this one point (the body), it is very easy for me to conclude that there's an 'I'/'me' that is doing all of the sensing. The cascade of experience is anchored to a single point, but it can all occur without the presence of an 'I'.

-Prabh

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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:58 pm

Hi Prabh,
An 'I' is invoked as soon as a thought (e.g. "looking at my toe so intently feels like that one scene from Kill Bill") occurs. In the gaps between thoughts, the seeing remains, but the 'I' dissolves away somewhat. It doesn't dissolve away completely, but I feel a unique stillness. ]
Good observations Prabh, However, you say an 'I' is invoked, but is there any invoking happening? If so, what can you see in direct experience that is doing this invoking? Can you find anything, or is it just thinking telling you that?

Also you say, the I' dissolves away somewhat. It doesn't dissolve away completely, but I feel a unique stillness.

Not from anything that thought tells you, but solely from direct experience, describe to me what this 'I' is that dissolves away but not completely. How does it appear and what does it do? How does the bit that dissolves differ from the bit that remains?
The border between the seen and the seer seems to be the surface of my body. There appear to be two different sets of things: my body and everything inside of it, and everything else that is outside of my body. 'I' seem to reside within my body, looking outward through my senses. The seeing process involves both the seer and the seen. It appears as if that without both the seer and the seen, nothing could be experienced.
You say the border seems to be the body and that there appear to be two different sets of things, that you seem to reside within your body etc. None of this is direct experience, it's what thinking tells you. Thinking is what tells 'you' there's a you in the first place, so thinking can't help with this. Only your raw experience, unmitigated by thinking, will show you whether or not there's a special, separate you there doing everything/anything.

So, please have another look. When you look in a natural, relaxed manner at say an orange, a tree, anything reasonably distinct, solely in direct experience, can you find a seer that's separate from seeing, or an object that's separate from seeing, or is there just seeing? Can you find any boundaries at all in direct experience that separate seer, seeing and seen?

Please do the exactly the same for hearing, tasting, touching and smelling and let me know what you find, and don't find.


And don't worry, it's going fine, just as it should. The following shows that you're on the right track:
These experiences were just ... happening ... whether or not 'I' consciously willed them to occur... The cascade of experience can occur without the presence of an 'I'.
Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:04 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for pointing out the fact that I wasn't speaking from direct experience. Here's another go at it:
... you say an 'I' is invoked, but is there any invoking happening? If so, what can you see in direct experience that is doing this invoking? Can you find anything, or is it just thinking telling you that?
It is definitely just thinking telling me that. I can't seem to find anything beneath thoughts and sensations that is actively invoking an 'I' ... just stillness.
... solely from direct experience, describe to me what this 'I' is that dissolves away but not completely. How does it appear and what does it do? How does the bit that dissolves differ from the bit that remains?
The 'I' emerges from thought-content. I just now had a thought: "Looking at DE makes me sleepy, so maybe I should take a nap and return to this." Embedded in that thought is the notion that there's an 'I' that is yawning and experiencing all of the other sensations of being sleepy. Instead, a thought like "sleepiness is happening" would be equally valid.

Although the 'I' appears in thought, it doesn't do anything. It's a concept that other concepts point to. If everything is pointing to one thing from all directions, then that thing being pointed to can take on a life of its own.

Upon further reflection, the 'I' dissolves away completely when thoughts that refer to it are absent.
When you look in a natural, relaxed manner at say an orange, a tree, anything reasonably distinct, solely in direct experience, can you find a seer that's separate from seeing, or an object that's separate from seeing, or is there just seeing? Can you find any boundaries at all in direct experience that separate seer, seeing and seen?
(This was difficult for me to answer. For a while, my thoughts protested: everything that I'm seeing right now is a separate entity unto itself ... separate from me, and independent from my sensing of it. After a relaxing a bit, I had just the smallest glimmer of insight.)

In looking at a chair, various shades of black, punctuated by a white background, are seen. I can't find a seer that's separate from seeing. The shades of black, the white background, and everything else seen in this moment all reside within the observed image. When the eyes are closed, the image disappears. When the eyes open, the image re-appears. If I set aside the concept of there being a chair (or a wall, etc), then everything is merely a flurry of color within sight. The seen objects are not separate from seeing.
Please do the exactly the same for hearing ...
(I didn't have as difficult of a time answering your questions with respect to hearing.)

In listening to a bird, its chirping--high, brief notes--is heard. I can locate the chirping (toward my left) but, regardless of the direction its coming from, it isn't necessarily separate from hearing. Similarly, the listener isn't separate from hearing either ... in fact, a listener (as in, someone who is actively 'doing' the listening), is not even necessary for the listening to occur. Listening is just happening and, in this moment, the chirping is one part of the listening.
... tasting ...


In drinking a glass of water, the sensation of the water flowing past different sections of the tongue is felt. The after-taste of a flavorful dinner is felt. These feelings pop into my awareness/attention when they occur, but they are not separate from the feeler.

However, regarding awareness/attention: it is localized to the body and, when I die, these sensations will disappear completely because awareness/attention has been turned off. Would it be accurate to say then that the existence of this body gives rise to awareness/attention, and therefore all sensations and thoughts?
... touching ...


In touching a blanket, the blanket is not necessarily separate from the feeling of touch. And the feeling of touch is not necessarily separate from the feeler.
... and smelling ...
(This was the easiest sense for me to look at, probably because the particles being inhaled are invisible, haha.)

In smelling a candle, the smelled object is not separate from the act of smelling, and the smeller is not separate from the act of smelling either. The raw experience is ... simply there.

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moondog
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Location: Somerset, England

Re: Requesting a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:57 pm

Hi Prabh,
It is definitely just thinking telling me that. I can't seem to find anything beneath thoughts and sensations that is actively invoking an 'I' ... just stillness.
That's right. Spot on Prabh.
The 'I' emerges from thought-content. I just now had a thought: "Looking at DE makes me sleepy, so maybe I should take a nap and return to this." Embedded in that thought is the notion that there's an 'I' that is yawning and experiencing all of the other sensations of being sleepy. Instead, a thought like "sleepiness is happening" would be equally valid.
Although the 'I' appears in thought, it doesn't do anything. It's a concept that other concepts point to. If everything is pointing to one thing from all directions, then that thing being pointed to can take on a life of its own.
Upon further reflection, the 'I' dissolves away completely when thoughts that refer to it are absent.
Really good. You're now looking in direct experience and seeing what's really happening, and how thoughts, particularly I-thoughts, or their contents, 'try' to intercede and influence so many aspects of 'your' life.
In looking at a chair, various shades of black, punctuated by a white background, are seen. I can't find a seer that's separate from seeing. The shades of black, the white background, and everything else seen in this moment all reside within the observed image. When the eyes are closed, the image disappears. When the eyes open, the image re-appears. If I set aside the concept of there being a chair (or a wall, etc), then everything is merely a flurry of color within sight. The seen objects are not separate from seeing.
Good observations of direct experience. You're experiencing seeing, before the mind labels and separates everything.
In listening to a bird, its chirping--high, brief notes--is heard. I can locate the chirping (toward my left) but, regardless of the direction its coming from, it isn't necessarily separate from hearing. Similarly, the listener isn't separate from hearing either ... in fact, a listener (as in, someone who is actively 'doing' the listening), is not even necessary for the listening to occur. Listening is just happening and, in this moment, the chirping is one part of the listening.
Yeah, amazing isn't it? All that can be said to be found is hearing. Nothing separate from that. Your observations of tasting, touching and smelling confirm the same lack of any self-entity doing anything, and an absence of any separation.
However, regarding awareness/attention: it is localized to the body and, when I die, these sensations will disappear completely because awareness/attention has been turned off. Would it be accurate to say then that the existence of this body gives rise to awareness/attention, and therefore all sensations and thoughts?
We'll be moving on to looking to see whether any separate self can be found as or in the body soon.

You've clearly put a lot of time and effort into looking into sense arisings and it really seems to have turned this around for you.

It's already become clear that looking at thoughts and thinking is fundamental to all of this, so let's look at whether there's a self-entity involved or present in thoughts and thinking:

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?


Good going Prabh.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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gnoneme
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Re: Requesting a guide

Postby gnoneme » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:32 am

Hi Pete,

Thank you for the encouraging words.
Where do thoughts come from?
Thoughts are triggered from preceding thoughts and felt sensations. For example, if I walk into another room, then new sensations (sights, smells, sounds, etc) enter into my awareness, and corresponding thoughts spontaneously arise. If the room is well lit, it may trigger something different than if the room was dark. My surroundings are constantly changing, and therefore thoughts are constantly changing. The exact process of how thoughts arise is a mystery to me.
Are you in control of them?
Hmmm, intellectually I know that I'm not in control of them ... that thoughts arise randomly and spontaneously. However, I feel as if looking at DE quiets my thoughts, or at least I notice the gaps between thoughts. That looking feels like a form of control.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Nope! A thought can quickly dismiss another thought, but the fire-hose of thoughts is always on.
Can you stop it in the middle?
Nope! A new thought may take the place of the original thought, but the stream of thought is always on.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
I don't ... sometimes my thoughts surprise me, especially the dark ones!
Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
I looked, and looked, and looked, but I still can't seem to shed the feeling that the two are different. Intellectually I know they are the same, but I can't seem to hone in on this when looking at DE.
Can a thought think?
No, 'thinking' is a synonym for the stream of thoughts (I think!). When observing thoughts, it is hard to even see the beginning and end of a thought. All thoughts seem to blur together into a single, multi-faceted stream.

-Prabh


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