looking for clarity

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:12 pm

Hi Ilona, answers to your second last post:

Thought frequently claims "ownership" of action. But in a specific sense. Example: Thought might suddenly produce the image of a cookie in the kitchen. Once that image arises, I might well go get the cookie and eat it. If thought had not remembered the cookie I wouldn't have eaten it. So it seems as if thought played a pivotal role in my eating the cookie, without that thought I would not have known to find the cookie even if I was hungry. This thought itself is not a separate entity, it is also something that had no choice in arising. So cookie-thought and cookie-eat often occur together in that order, just as rain-falls and river-swells occur consecutively.

So thought often precedes action. But the word "ownership" smells of an "I", and there is nothing like that directly experienced above. The "I" is most often felt when there is hesitation, when thought says "maybe do this, or maybe do that, oh it's so hard to decide! What should *I* do?". This hesitation gives the illusion of "deciding" on a course of action. This illusion is what I most easily fall for in the heat of the moment, though it seems clear enough as I write this that there is no separate decider.

Thought often precedes action, but does it DO the action? Does it DO anything? Only in the sense that the rain is DOING something by falling. But it is not an independent actor doing something. It is just happening. You can say that the rain is MAKING the river swell. In the same way, one can say thought LEADS to an action. What is observed is the thought just happens, and then action just happens.

A thought cannot itself think. It appears to be thinking when caught in hesitation, "shall I do this or shall I do that?", but these are just more thoughts. One can BELIEVE that thoughts can think, but that belief is itself another thought/feeling just arising.

There can be a BELIEF that thought is an entity, a "me". This "me" does not arise when everything is running smoothly, or even when challenges arise but are faced without internal conflicts. But when there is resistance and hesitation, the "me" illusion arises, and often believed. So thought is not an entity, but it is a phenomenon, like the rain. The rain is not MAKING it rain, it is just happening.

I am flying off for a meeting today, but will explore restlessness (looking forward to facing it) and write about it in next post as soon as I can.

Thanks

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:27 pm

First installment of looking at restlessness:

So I sat down to really explore the restlessness. I was feeling very curious! But as luck would have it, under the watchful gaze there was only a peaceful feeling. Damn it! A few thoughts/feelings bubbled up about the suffering in my family and that I REALLY had to DO something to help, that things were getting worse over time, but I also saw how little I could do, and that my own panicky attempts have backfired. But mostly peacefulness.

So I tested this, by asking if I could just keep sitting like this until the restlessness hit me. But I ran out of time, since I'm flying out today.

I'm sure I will have ample opportunity to be restless soon, and will report...

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Ilona
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:11 pm

Great work. But... when you sit and look don’t look for something, look at what already is here. You don’t need to conjure a particular feeling, just acknowledge and honour what is showing up.
I asked to look at restlessness as that was coming up a few days ago. But it’s not showing up now, so don’t look FOR it.
The key is to meet what IS. Whatever it is in that moment.

You say thought precedes action. Let’s examine that.
There used to be a video on YouTube that I can no longer find. In the video there was a test done, a guy is put in mri machine and is given two buttons, he had to make a choice to press right or left. The result was showing, that the decision was made in the brain 6 seconds (!!) prior conscious thought.
So in your experience, examine, what comes first, an impulse to do something, an action or a conscious thought. In which order they happen and are they happening simultaneously or not? Does thought cause action or does it describe action?

Have fun with this.
Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book/events/

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:04 am

Hi Ilona, sorry I was being a bit ironic, actually I was surprised and happy to have enjoyed the peace of sitting without any resistance for that time, surprised because I was expecting the opposite.

On my trip, stuck in the traffic, at the airport, and on the flight, I had some hours where I stayed watchful and where resistance arose. This was difficult, or rather the least painful way to get through it was to watch very carefully and take in every movement of thought and feeling as it tried to run off. I need to spend more time doing this to see what comes up. The mind keeps warning me how difficult it would be to keep going without the escapes that I see people taking all around me, but I do not fully trust that.

I did hear about the tests you are talking about on the radio about a year ago. I can well believe this is true, that the mind takes credit for actions begun even before the crediting thought! I see some hints in human behavior. I will play with it and report as you request. I guess, I would have imagined that sometimes thought is just the shadow of actions as you suggest, but at other times it does precede the action, but you are saying maybe thought is ALWAYS just trailing behind. I will have to look carefully to see if this is always the case, because it has HUGE implications: if thought is always trailing behind action, then all this anxious thought is a big joke thinking that it is DOING anything, or that it is even just the precursor to actions. It would be much easier for me to drop a lot of anxious thought if I can see clearly that thought is THAT irrelevant. I will try and find out.

I'm still at this conference, flying back tomorrow, will spend any free time looking.

Thanks.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:49 pm

Yes, this has huge implications. Explore.

This metaphor may help.
When you watch a sports game on tv, there is a game on the field, players doing their thing and there is a commentator. The commentator is talking about the game, talks about players, best moments, projects what will happen. But is he affecting the game itself? Are players influenced by the comments? Is ball influenced by the commentator predictions? What can commentator do to affect what is happening in the field?

Look at the chat that goes on in the mind. It talks about life, it talks about characters. Is the voice in the head in charge of what is happening?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book/events/

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:59 pm

Hi Ilona, back home. Had lot of opportunity to watch what comes up within. One thing that often happens is that in ANTICIPATION of quiet watching, while sitting still or walking or waiting to get off plane or being awake in night, there is resistance to watching. Thoughts arise, "you can't be still and watch for so long, it'll be too boring. Even if you do it for a while you will eventually break down and have to distract yourself" etc. But once I am actually watching what happens, and just watching the thoughts and resistance, then these are not taken so seriously, and watching is possible. It feels like the thoughts and feelings are like waves and I am in the water just bobbing up and down as they come and go. Then some thought train might carry me off, and when I return to watching there is an unpleasant residue of feeling and resistance, again saying "Oh this is so boring, look how much time is left on the flight, or these thoughts are so unwelcome", etc. But if once again I return to watching this resistance, then this also passes. As long as I am curious what is behind the resistance, curious about what the suffering really IS, then the feelings are not felt as suffering, they are felt in the body to some extent as a shudder or ripple or a pain. I will have to continue watching, I have a sense that more lies buried within.

I played a little bit with the question of thought preceding/initiating action. You had mentioned the sports commentator analogy before, and it certainly is true of a LOT of thinking. The question however is whether ALL thoughts have this quality of being irrelevant to the play of life and actions. Because all of us have this sense that a lot of our thoughts are wasteful, but these thoughts arise because we think SOME of our thoughts are essential for action. That we want some good fruits but we have to buy a big bag in which a lot of fruits are rotten, but that is the price of having a few good fruits within. So we buy the whole bag. But if ALL the fruits are rotten, then no buying the bag!

So I want to be very clear:

I played with whether to move my hand or not, and indeed it just seems to move on its own, and I can't say that thought initiated it, or at least that CONSCIOUS thought (as opposed to some subconscious mental/nervous processing) initiated it. The conscious thought does arise, but it seems to come in after. And it is not always correlated with what actually happens. It is as if thought is trying to guess what action will take place, and then take credit, bit like sports commentator.

But as you have said in an early post, there is room for planning when that is required. If I am going to the grocery store, I will make a list before I go. Then I follow that list while shopping. If I don't make that list I often forget things. So planning and listing is useful it seems. The items to go on the list arise in my mind somehow after looking in the fridge, but the list itself seems like conscious thinking, in fact the list may be consciously in my head and not on paper. So this conscious planning seems very clearly BEFORE action, and in a sense it is DIRECTING action. So this kind of planning thoughts that arise do seem to guide action, and seem ESSENTIAL functions of thought, unlike the sports commentator thoughts. (It is widely believed, including by me, that planning thoughts are a key evolutionary development in humans, in the standard view of the world "out there" with humans like me in it.)

If I am wrong on this last paragraph, please point out the mistake, because this planning is the "good fruit" that I am buying from the bag of thinking. Then the bag may contain a lot of rotten fruits, like anxious useless worrying, or guilt, or desperate ambition or desire or resistance, but these sort of leak in by pretending to be good fruit. If I were to be clear that ALL thoughts had NO role in action/life, I suspect I would drop all thoughts rather than the tricky business of sorting good fruit from bad. I don't know what I would do then, sit around lost?

I will keep playing with this, but please let me know if planning and memory are not a vital tasks of conscious thinking, and how to see for myself. Are they just part of the idle chatter. Indeed I am not aware of any other vital tasks of conscious thinking, the rest does seem pretty useless.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:23 pm

Planing is practical and that is what we do, when we need to fly, we buy tickets, when we need to buy stuff, we make a list. Is the flight going to happen, we don’t know, many things can go wrong, right?

Mind wants to be really helpful and in some things it is practical and useful. There is nothing wrong with thinking and solving situations as they arise. That’s the good fruit.

But you can also see that even making a list, the thought that shows up pops up by itself. Conscious thought is a thought we are aware of. So you can look that all, impulse, thought and action arise simultaneously, interdependently with what you know, what situation presents. It’s one movement, undivided. The cause and effect is an attempt to describe this mysterious happening. It’s a useful concept sometimes. But it’s a concept. It’s an attempt to put this into a box and label it- I know how things are.

That knowing of how things are is a dead lock on seeing magic and mystery.

So rather than trying to figure it out, see that all trying to figure it out is grasping for certainty. And the process here is about unlearning all that you know about how things are and remain open in unknown. The security is not in knowing how things are, but in being.

Does that makes sense?

What do you notice in your experience? What is true to you?
That’s the only thing that counts, my words are too, an attempt to explain that which can not be explained.

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book/events/

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:57 pm

Thank you for that reply, it makes sense. Yes I agree, the conscious thought is only like a slip of paper on which is scribbled a shopping list, but the process by which the list itself was made is a mystery, and whether or not the list is filled at the grocery or whether one even goes to the grocery is uncertain. So the conscious thought is not the ORIGINATOR or DECIDER, that is indeed much more mysterious, the flow of the world through you. I see that it is all one process, and to divide it up is artificial and not fundamentally true.

At this stage I do not ask to understand all the mysteries, I just want to let go, let go and go with the flow. That is the peace I seek. The fun of a roller-coaster ride when you don't fight it. I have grown up with many concepts, and it is exciting and a bit scary to let them all go, but willing to do it and just see without concepts.

I will keep watching and playing with all this.

Thanks.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:40 pm

just want to let go, let go and go with the flow.
But you can’t. You can’t go with the flow, as there is only the flow. Regardless of what form this one energy/aliveness takes, there is no one there separate from it already. So stop trying to let go. It’s useless. Notice what is already here instead. It really is a no step journey, from thinking and trying to understand to being present. And you are always present already. So nothing needs to be let go. attention shifts to what is real. That’s all.

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book/events/

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:57 pm

Got it. I was trying to separate out and imply that "I" could let go, that "I" had some level of control over how things work out. You are saying I don't have that control, and that there is no separate "I" who can let go, that everything is flowing along already, and all that is to be done is to look. The idea that there is a "process" in time of "letting go" is just part of a mental movie for the imaginary character.

Ok.

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Ilona
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:18 pm

Yep.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book/events/

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:31 pm

Hi Ilona, I spent the day watching my thoughts and feelings as much of the time as I could. There was enough of the family crisis and fear arising repeatedly, that I had to pay close attention to the suffering, and try to find the sufferer, or just let the suffering take place without further struggle. Many times, my thoughts would carry me away as I tried to plan how to deal with the problems, but it was all tinged with the suffering self, not just logical planning. When I noticed, I would return to attention of the present, and again watching to see why I should label any of the feelings as "bad" as opposed to just some feelings. I could always let the feelings just be. Once I was watching like this, the suffering was minimal, until again the thoughts raced off to find "solutions".

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:29 pm

Hi Ilona, did not have much time to myself in last couple of days, with family. So I have been watching as much as I can in the heat of the moment as things go "wrong" or not, remembering when I can to enlarge my view to include whatever is suffering or resisting or complaining. There has been lots of getting lost in the difficulties, so my attention and presence has been spotty.

The mind keeps pointing out "in the long run things look very bad, something has to be done", with accompanying fear,
and I have recognized this voice as part of the mental movies and brought attention back to the most instantaneous present where there is no problem, and where whatever can actually be done is being done.

I notice that there is quite a "me" feeling a lot of the time. Not at the instant I remember to look carefully, but as if this "me" was around a lot but always ducking out of sight when I look. Life is not taking place "me"-free for now.

Generally, it is harder to stay present with lot of things going on rather than sitting quietly alone. Not complaining, just giving status report.

Thanks.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:42 pm

Can you tell me when is not now? When is that you are not aware?
You say it is hard to stay present. Can you be not present?
What happens when you are not present?

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book/events/

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:11 pm

Sorry to be clear, what I mean is that I have the experience of having been inattentive to the here and now, of having returned from believing the mental movie. Of course the movie is also taking place NOW. So I feel like I am going in and out of being lost in the movies and the fate of the character. I then "return" to trying to be clear if the character is real, and if the suffering is real. This is repeated. That's what I meant to say.

So presence is always there, but time spent lost in the mental movies seems to come and go.

Thanks


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