Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

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amrita
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby amrita » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:19 am

This all sounds very positive Elen. The key is to keep looking at direct experience and not become caught up or identified with secondary mental processes.

Lets look at thinking next

Sit quietly, relax, and watch one thought after the other come up. Look at each question for about 5 minutes. You don't need to do the exercise in one piece.

Do you bring thoughts? If so from where and how?
Do you send them away?
Do you know what you're going to think before you think it? Sit quietly for a moment and try to predict your next thought. Does it work?
Do you plan what you are going to think before you think it?
Can you know your next thought before it arises and stop it from arising if you don't like it?
Is there is a thought that you can control?
What can a thought do – what power does it have?
Did any of these thoughts come on purpose?
You experience thoughts, but do you experience the content? Is the content real?

Lots of love to you

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Elen
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby Elen » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:47 pm

Hi Amrita

Just wanted to let you know that I'll send my reply about thoughts early next week. I have visitors at the moment and so it's proving tricky to find the time and space I need to focus on the exercises.

Love

Elen

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amrita
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby amrita » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:05 pm

Ok. Thanks for letting me know. Enjoy your time with your guests, and yes please take your time with the exercises and post back when you are ready.

amrita

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Elen
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby Elen » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:22 pm

Hi Amrita

This afternoon I sat for a while looking at my thoughts and reflecting on your questions and here are my responses:

Do you bring thoughts? If so from where and how?
No, they just arise, seemingly out of nowhere!

Do you send them away?
No, they just pass away.

Do you know what you're going to think before you think it? Sit quietly for a moment and try to predict your next thought. Does it work?
I'm not able to actually predict my next thought. However under certain conditions e.g. experiencing a headache, I'm able to predict a strong likelihood of certain thoughts frequently arising e.g. "this hurts!" but not exactly when that thought will arise.

Do you plan what you are going to think before you think it?
Sometimes I plan to think about a specific topic e.g. this exercise but within that I am unable to plan what actual thoughts will arise.

Can you know your next thought before it arises and stop it from arising if you don't like it?
Under certain conditions I may be able to predict the likelihood of certain thoughts arising but not with absolute certainty and not exactly when. And no, I'm not able to stop my next thought from arising if I don't like it - unfortunately!

Is there is a thought that you can control?
No, they all seem to come unbidden! Althought I might try to suppress certain thoughts e.g. if they're difficult or unpleasant, I'm not actually able to do so. I'm not able to control them.

What can a thought do – what power does it have?
If you believe or 'buy into' a thought, treat it as a fact, then it can cause you to suffer e.g. comparing yourself to others unfavourably and concluding "I'm not good enough". However if you don't become attached to/identified with a thought, then it has no power, it just arises and passes away - like a cloud in the sky :-)

Did any of these thoughts come on purpose?
No.

You experience thoughts, but do you experience the content? Is the content real?
You experience the effects of the content of thoughts insofar as they affect your physical and emotional state e.g. anxious thoughts generally cause physical tension, restricted breathing, fear, etc. But much of the content of thoughts derives from a subjective, self-created story of 'me' which is not real in an ultimate sense.

Love

Elen

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amrita
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby amrita » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:34 pm

Hi Elen, welcome back and some great answers in your responses :)

Let’s look more at thought and thought content.

Can you see that thoughts about something are not the actual thing they are describing? For example, thoughts about an apple are not the actual apple itself? I know this sounds very obvious but bear with me.

Try this exercise. Put an apple (or any other piece of fruit) in front of you and pay attention to what is going in your actual experience.

What do you see? Can you describe what is happening in your actual experience?

Can you notice colour and shape and the labelling thought “apple”? Maybe there are lots of other thoughts about apples.

However, in your direct experience is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour, shape and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?

Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?

While these thoughts are known, what they talk ABOUT can't be found in actual experience.

For example,

Taste labelled ‘apple’ is known
Colour labelled ‘apple’ is known
Sensation labelled ‘apple’ is known (when apple is touched)
Smell labelled ‘apple’ is known
Thought about/of an ‘apple’ is known
However, is an apple actually known?

If you pick the apple up and close your eyes can you feel the sensations in your hand separately from the apple itself? Are there not just sensations? Is it possible to really experience the apple outside of thoughts about the apple?

This is what is meant by ‘looking in actual experience‘. What else do we have but the actual experience of the 5 senses in here and now? And in our actual experience of the senses in the here and now can anything resembling a self be found?

Love

amrita

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Elen
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby Elen » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:18 pm

Hi Amrita

Firstly I just wanted to say thanks for your encouragement! Really appreciate you taking the time to support me through the process :-)

So... I've now had a look at a tangerine and here are my responses to your questions:

What do you see? Can you describe what is happening in your actual experience?
I see a small round orange thing in the space in front of me. My thinking mind immediately jumps in to categorise and comment on it!

Can you notice colour and shape and the labelling thought “apple”? Maybe there are lots of other thoughts about apples.
Yes various thoughts arise. For example, naming it 'tangerine', labelling it orange/round/small, noticing the light and shade on it, and memories of the pleasant experience of tasting one (refleshing, juicy, sweet).

However, in your direct experience is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour, shape and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
No, there isn't really a 'tangerine' here, just thoughts about 'tangerine'.

Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?
No, 'tangerine' is a concept created by the thinking mind.

However, is an apple actually known?
No.

If you pick the apple up and close your eyes can you feel the sensations in your hand separately from the apple itself? Are there not just sensations? Is it possible to really experience the apple outside of thoughts about the apple?
When I pick the tangerine up, I can just feel sensations e.g. pressure, coolness. With no concepts or labels super-imposed on the experience, there is only direct sensory experience. I can't really experience 'tangerine' outside of thoughts about it.

What else do we have but the actual experience of the 5 senses in here and now?
There are only direct sensations and the spaciousness within which the sensations arise.

And in our actual experience of the senses in the here and now can anything resembling a self be found?
No. If my awareness is IN the sensation (ie. not thinking) then there is just sensation and no "me" or "my body experiencing this". No "I" or "self" within the sensations.

Love

Elen

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amrita
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Re: Seeking a guide, a Triratna OM?

Postby amrita » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:06 am

Hey Elen,

Thanks for this but it is a genuine pleasure to guide you. I really hope you are getting something useful from this inquiry.
Firstly I just wanted to say thanks for your encouragement! Really appreciate you taking the time to support me through the process :-)
From what you write you can find no self in direct experience but see that it is something thought overlays or superimposes upon experience. Is that right by which I mean have I understood you correctly?

Lets have a look at choice and intention next...


let’s start by looking at the idea of thought causing an action.

1. Hold a hand in front of you; palm turned down.
2. Now turn the palm up. And down...and up and so on.
Watch like a hawk.

Don't go to thoughts, examine the actual experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire…
How is the movement controlled?
Does a thought control it?
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
How is the decision made to turn the hand over? Track any decision point when a thought MADE THE DECISION to turn the hand over and the hand turns over immediately.
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?

Love to you

Amrita


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