unambiguous clarity

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:40 pm

So, what is the AE of thoughts ‘emerging out of the ether of presence’?
How is ‘thoughts emerging out of the ether of presence’ is actually known?
Can this be known at all, if all thoughts are ignored?
I see that 'thoughts emerging out of the ether' was simply a thought about a thought. AE is simply that. So it cannot be known where thoughts come from, in DE.
What is the AE of ‘ether of presence’? Is it a sound, image/color, smell, taste, sensation or thought?
The AE of 'ether of presence' is thought.
How is it known exactly that ‘presence notices thoughts as they pass by’?
It is not known. There is just thought.
So what is it exactly that realized that ‘being sick of negative thoughts just another thought arising spontaneously’?
Where is the ‘thing’ that realized this? – locate it
(I worry that I am answering this intellectually, but) the answer that comes to me is that nothing realized this, the realization was simply another thought arising in DE.
“I have never really looked at the nature of thoughts” – what does the word ‘I’ refers to in this sentence?
Where is the one who has never really looked before? – find it
Looking at it now, I think I have always thought of 'thought' as being 'me'. The sound of my voice in particular, that shows up as thought, is so familiar to me and this voice thought is where I up until now believe the 'I' resides.

When I was thinking of sitting down to reply to you, I was in a agitated state, (kids driving me a bit crazy) and I am surprised how much calmer I am, having written to you.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:07 am

Hi Al,
Looking at it now, I think I have always thought of 'thought' as being 'me'. The sound of my voice in particular, that shows up as thought, is so familiar to me and this voice thought is where I up until now believe the 'I' resides.
Nice looking.

“I have always thought of thought as being me” – what does the word ‘I’ point to in this sentence?
What is it exactly that has ‘always thought of thought being me’?

“The sound of my voice” – what is it exactly that has a voice?
Where is this I exactly? – locate it

“the sound of my voice is so familiar to me” – Where is the me exactly, whom the sound of its voice is so familiar to?
What is it exactly that ‘up until now believed that ‘I’ resides in the voice’?

What can a thought do?
Does a thought have volition?
Can it manipulate other thoughts or think new thoughts?


It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?

What does generate thoughts?
What do the thoughts belong to? What owns them?


Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:59 pm

“I have always thought of thought as being me” – what does the word ‘I’ point to in this sentence?
What is it exactly that has ‘always thought of thought being me’?
Given that it appears in DE that I' is a thought, then thought has always thought of thought being me. So it seems that alot of what I took to be me controlling thoughts, is actually thoughts about thoughts and so on...
“The sound of my voice” – what is it exactly that has a voice?
Where is this I exactly? – locate it
Given that it seems the 'I is my voice, which in turn is thought, then the I is nowhere I can find.
“the sound of my voice is so familiar to me” – Where is the me exactly, whom the sound of its voice is so familiar to?
What is it exactly that ‘up until now believed that ‘I’ resides in the voice’?
The thing that believed up until now that 'I resides in the voice, was the voice of Al telling me so. The Al / voice can't be found because it is a thought.
What can a thought do?
Does a thought have volition?
Can it manipulate other thoughts or think new thoughts?
I am not sure I can answer this question in DE? I can say that in DE thoughts appear to arise spontaneously, and disappear spontaneously, but whether thoughts have volition or manipulative power, I think I would be guessing here?
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?
What I notice is that all the time, I am having thoughts, and then thoughts about thoughts, and then thoughts about thoughts about thoughts. So I m not sure I can really say anything about anything because these thoughts just appear, and whatever pattern I may or may not notice, is simply another thought.

The thought I am having now is that this conversation is a bit crazy? Am I on track here Vivien?
What does generate thoughts?
What do the thoughts belong to? What owns them?
Well it appears that thoughts take content from previous thoughts so it appears that what generates thoughts is the surrounding conditions. Like a seed growing into a tree, what determines the way it grows might be the wind and the rain. But if I answer this question again from DE, I cannot say because thoughts just wax and wane, like the tide.

I appreciate your apparent focus and determination to keep me looking here Vivien but I feel I am getting a bit lost I think?

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:07 am

Hi Al,
I am not sure I can answer this question in DE? I can say that in DE thoughts appear to arise spontaneously, and disappear spontaneously, but whether thoughts have volition or manipulative power, I think I would be guessing here?
Yes, exactly. Thoughts cannot do anything, they cannot think or want or manipulate other thoughts. The assumption of these would be just the content of another thought.
What I notice is that all the time, I am having thoughts
What is it exactly that is having thoughts?
What is it exactly that is noticing thoughts? – find it
The thought I am having now is that this conversation is a bit crazy? Am I on track here Vivien?
I appreciate your apparent focus and determination to keep me looking here Vivien but I feel I am getting a bit lost I think?
You’re doing very well. You did a great looking.
What makes you think that you didn’t?
What makes you think that you’re getting lost?
What else do you expect to see than what you’ve just seen?


Let’s start to investigate the difference between the appearance of a thought, and what thought is about.
If you were in a desert, dying of thirst, could you quench your thirst just by thinking about water (thoughts), or would you need to drink ‘real’ water?

Let’s say I’m with you in the desert and offer you two options:
(1) In my left hand there is a piece of paper with the word ‘water’ written on it, and
(2) in my right hand there is a bottle of water.

Which one would you choose to quench your thirst, the label or the water?
So, can the label ‘water’, which is actual/direct experience (AE) of thought only, quench your thirst?

Labels are ‘real’ as appearing thoughts (as ‘containers’) but their ‘contents’, what the labels/thoughts are ABOUT are not ‘real’, not happening. Is this totally clear?


Thoughts can be looked at in 2 different ways:

- seeing the CONTENT of a thought, what is a thought ABOUT
- and only seeing the thought itself (as phenomenon taking place), as a ‘CONTAINER’

When a thought is seen only as a container, and the content of a thought (what it’s about) is being ignored, is what we call the actual experience of a thought. Do you see the difference?

Thoughts as arising thoughts (the containers) are ‘real’, but their contents (what they are ABOUT) are not. Like when you think about Dart Vader. There is an arising thought, it cannot be denied, but its content “Dart Vader” is not real. Sometimes thoughts point to something tangible, like chair, however a thought about a chair is not a chair. A thought about a chair is just a mental concept with an arising mental image of a ‘chair’ but that image is not ‘real’. However, as an arising image is there, it is ‘real’, but not its content (what it’s about).

Certain sensations can be felt in the body that is labelled such and such emotion, like ‘cheerful’. However, ‘cheerful’ is just a mental label on the felt sensation. So the felt sensation is ‘real’, the arising mental label, simply as arising label is ‘real’, but its content ‘cheerful’ is just an idea. Can you see this?

Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:27 pm

Hi Vivien
What is it exactly that is having thoughts?
What is it exactly that is noticing thoughts? – find it
At first glance it appears that the vessel that is having these thoughts is something in my vicinity (like my body or my brain) as I can hear 'my' voice / thought and then I have another thought saying that the vessel doing the hearing must be 'near' me if I can actually hear this thought. If the voice was located in a far away location, I would not be able to hear it, so the thought says. But then I come back to the thought that I cant find what is having thoughts or noticing thoughts.
What makes you think that you didn’t?
What makes you think that you’re getting lost?
What else do you expect to see than what you’ve just seen?
A thought arose to said I am not doing looking correctly. A thought arose that said I was getting lost. Which in light of our earlier discussion about thoughts of their own accord just arising out of nowhere leads me to accept that that is just what happens to be arising ( thoughts labelled as doubts?)

There is an expectation that the experience that I am currently having of not being able to find a thinker of thought will metamorphise into this profound moment of 'Oh my gosh, there really is no one here.' In other words that I will go from sort of getting this fact to REALLY getting this fact.
Which one would you choose to quench your thirst, the label or the water?
So, can the label ‘water’, which is actual/direct experience (AE) of thought only, quench your thirst?

Labels are ‘real’ as appearing thoughts (as ‘containers’) but their ‘contents’, what the labels/thoughts are ABOUT are not ‘real’, not happening. Is this totally clear?
So you're saying that an arising thought is real in AE? It is actually happening and cannot be denied. But what the thought is labelling is not real in AE. I think it would help me to give a few examples to illustrate to you whether I have understood this correctly (is that an OK way of answering your question?) So looking at a tree and thinking tree is real in AE, but a thought about a tree is not a tree, so we mistake thoughts for real things.

Or I think about my wife and the picture of her arises, so the thought and the picture are there in AE, but I mistake the label 'My wife' for something real and tangible. I'm not sure 100% I've got this. Maybe what would help Vivien is if I understood from you what the application of this particular looking is?

If I cast my eyes upwards as I write this I see a ceiling lamp . In AE there is the thought ceiling lamp, there is the colour and shape (sight). So what...? I think I just need to understand what you are getting at? Are you saying we mistake thoughts for reality when they are simply labels. And if so, I'm not sure what the significance of this is?

When I think of my brain or my body I notice that I think of my brain or my body being as real things, but I think I see that although these thoughts are really arising in AE, the body and brain that these thoughts point to are not real and are not experienced in AE. But presumably the body and the brain are real??

There is a thought arising now that says I must be sounding confused to Vivien!

Best wishes, Al

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:32 am

Hi Al,
At first glance it appears that the vessel that is having these thoughts
What is the AE of a ‘vessel having thoughts’?
How a ‘vessel having thoughts’ is actually experienced?

What is the AE of a ‘vessel’?
these thoughts is something in my vicinity (like my body or my brain)
How is the brain actually experienced?
Which in light of our earlier discussion about thoughts of their own accord just arising out of nowhere leads me to accept that that is just what happens to be arising ( thoughts labelled as doubts?)
What is it exactly that is accepting that ‘thoughts about doubts arising’?
Where is this ‘me’ exactly? – find it
There is an expectation that the experience that I am currently having of not being able to find a thinker of thought will metamorphise into this profound moment of 'Oh my gosh, there really is no one here.' In other words that I will go from sort of getting this fact to REALLY getting this fact.
Seeing through the self is not accompanied with fireworks :) for some it happens gradually in small steps without even knowing when it happened exactly.
So looking at a tree and thinking tree is real in AE, but a thought about a tree is not a tree, so we mistake thoughts for real things.
Looking at a tree is an AE of seeing/color, but NOT the AE of a tree.
Having a thought ‘tree’ is NOT the AE of ‘tree’, but the AE of a thought (as a phenomenon) only.
The thought/word label ‘tree’ is NOT the AE of a ‘tree’, but the AE of a thought only.
Having a mental image labelled ‘tree’ is NOT the AE of a ‘tree’, but the AE of a mental image only.

Read the above lines one-by-one. Let me know if all of them are clear.
Or I think about my wife and the picture of her arises, so the thought and the picture are there in AE, but I mistake the label 'My wife' for something real and tangible.
Yes, because the mental image labelled ‘my wife’ is NOT the AE of ‘my wife’, but the AE of a mental image only. Is this clear?
Maybe what would help Vivien is if I understood from you what the application of this particular looking is?
The distinction between AE of what thoughts ‘say’ about AE is very important. Taking the content of a thought as real, is one of the primary holding pillar of the illusion of the self.
If I cast my eyes upwards as I write this I see a ceiling lamp . In AE there is the thought ceiling lamp, there is the colour and shape (sight). So what...?
The thought ‘ceiling lamp’ is NOT the AE of ‘ceiling lap’, but the AE of the presence thought (as a phenomenon) only.
The imagined mental image labelled ‘ceiling lamp’ is NOT the AE of a ‘ceiling lamp’, but the AE of the presence of a mental image (as a phenomenon only).
Is this clear?
When I think of my brain or my body I notice that I think of my brain or my body being as real things, but I think I see that although these thoughts are really arising in AE, the body and brain that these thoughts point to are not real and are not experienced in AE.
Yes, there is NO AE of ‘brain’ or ‘my body’. These are just mental constructs.
But presumably the body and the brain are real??
Yes and no. Conventionally speaking brain and body exist. But when we investigate the self, we cannot get anywhere with conventional ‘truths’. Since conventional truths are the results of thinking, which is exactly what is creating the illusion of the self, by creating concepts. We have to look ‘behind’ this conceptual overlay, and see what is really there without concepts.

Conventionally speaking the brain or body are useful concepts, just as many other concepts. But when we want to see through the illusion, we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself.

If you wonder how the body could be just a concept, then don’t worry, we will get there. We will investigate the body later.
Are you saying we mistake thoughts for reality when they are simply labels.
Yes, just mental constructs.
And if so, I'm not sure what the significance of this is?
The significance is huge.

Thought will always ‘want’ to understand and intellectualize everything, this is what thoughts are ABOUT: analysing, interpreting, and putting everything into categories or into order, and most of all, conceptualizing the actual experience.
And it’s not problematic of itself. But for this investigation we have to stick to the pure experience, BEFORE any thought interpretation.

Why? Because the whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. The self is just a concept. It’s not a real thing. It’s a fantasy. It’s a mirage in the desert. For a newborn baby, there is no concept of self. For the newborn there is only pure experiencing. And just later, when language is introduced, the concept of a self emerges, out of the thin air. It’s just a fabrication, but with time this fabrication is taken as reality. And what is the problem with that? It’s suffering. Only a self could suffer.

So for the infant there is only pure experiencing. Sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation. She is in direct contact with experience. But as cognition develops she starts to conceptualize her experience. Putting everything into categories, labelling the experience, etc. And of itself it’s not problematic. But this conceptualization is overlaying the experience, and it gets thicker and thicker. And at some point she hardly can access her direct experience, since she can only see the conceptual overlay. Like seeing everything through a pink tinted glass. At some point pinkness gets so natural (used to), that she even stops knowing/seeing that everything is just coloured pink, but not in reality. And at that point this conceptual overlay is believed to be THE TRUTH. Pink becomes the ultimate truth. The pinkness distorts our perception of what is really going on.

Whatever thoughts ‘say’, is the truth/reality from now on. This is how humans live their lives. We hardly can connect with our immediate experience since we believe that the overlaying thought concepts are all there is. And of course concepts are very useful when solving a problem, building a bridge or a house. But concepts/thoughts are just tools. But for humans the tool itself is overthrown what is really happening and creating all sorts of problems. This tool cannot be turned off. It’s like having a hammer as tool. The hammer is very useful for hitting the nail into the wall, but it’s not so useful for making dinner. But for humans, thoughts (the hammer) cannot be switched off, and we hammer everything with thoughts.
Thoughts, as a tool, has its place and value when a problem needs to be solved, but when the task is done, we should be able to put the tool (thoughts) down and just rest in the natural peace of experience. But thoughts are constantly on in forms of self-referencing narrating talks. Which is the basis of human delusion and suffering.

But the aim is not to stop these overlays from appearing, but rather to see them for what they really are. The overlay of in itself is not problematic, as long as we see that it’s just an overlay.

This is why we have to stick to our immediate experience while doing this investigation. Not to devaluate thoughts and concepts, but rather to see what is really going on ‘behind the scenes’. When investigating the nature of reality and the self we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself on the first place.

Does this explanation help?

Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:42 am

Hi Vivien
What is the AE of a ‘vessel having thoughts’?
It is a thought about a thought.
How a ‘vessel having thoughts’ is actually experienced?
Again in AE, it is just a thought about a thought.
How is the brain actually experienced?
It is not experienced any other way than in thought.
What is it exactly that is accepting that ‘thoughts about doubts arising’?
Where is this ‘me’ exactly? – find it
I can't find it. All I can really find in AE is thoughts and more thoughts.
Looking at a tree is an AE of seeing/color, but NOT the AE of a tree.
Having a thought ‘tree’ is NOT the AE of ‘tree’, but the AE of a thought (as a phenomenon) only.
The thought/word label ‘tree’ is NOT the AE of a ‘tree’, but the AE of a thought only.
Having a mental image labelled ‘tree’ is NOT the AE of a ‘tree’, but the AE of a mental image only.
Yes I understand all four sentences here. A thought arises that what is being got at here is that the thought of 'me' is mistaken for a real thing.
Yes, because the mental image labelled ‘my wife’ is NOT the AE of ‘my wife’, but the AE of a mental image only. Is this clear?
Yes I understand that in AE the label is not the thing.
The thought ‘ceiling lamp’ is NOT the AE of ‘ceiling lap’, but the AE of the presence thought (as a phenomenon) only.
The imagined mental image labelled ‘ceiling lamp’ is NOT the AE of a ‘ceiling lamp’, but the AE of the presence of a mental image (as a phenomenon only).
As I look now at the ceiling lamp, there is sight ( of colour and shape). If I close my eyes and imagine ceiling lamp, In AE there is just an arising thought. The imagined picture of the ceiling lamp is not sight in AE, but a thought only (of an imagined picture).
So for the infant there is only pure experiencing. Sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation. She is in direct contact with experience. But as cognition develops she starts to conceptualize her experience. Putting everything into categories, labelling the experience, etc. And of itself it’s not problematic. But this conceptualization is overlaying the experience, and it gets thicker and thicker. And at some point she hardly can access her direct experience, since she can only see the conceptual overlay. Like seeing everything through a pink tinted glass. At some point pinkness gets so natural (used to), that she even stops knowing/seeing that everything is just coloured pink, but not in reality. And at that point this conceptual overlay is believed to be THE TRUTH. Pink becomes the ultimate truth. The pinkness distorts our perception of what is really going on.
I so enjoyed reading what you wrote VIvien. Thank you so much for this time and effort you are making.

What I take from it is that I can practise looking at the world out there ( a mattress, a tree, a chest of drawers) and notice what I notice in AE and also notice how thought arises labelling everything and then that label becomes so real.

You are not saying that we live in world where trees, mattresses and chests don't exist, but that the label (the arising thought) becomes mistaken for the thing itself?

I think I understand that benefit of separating out in AE is that it helps to see that the label which I so believe to be true namely 'I' is only a label and it does not exist.

Are you also saying that everything exists except the self?

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:19 am

Hi Al,
Are you also saying that everything exists except the self?
It doesn’t matter what I say, what matters is what you can experientially see.
You are not saying that we live in world where trees, mattresses and chests don't exist, but that the label (the arising thought) becomes mistaken for the thing itself?
Let me reply to this question with an exercise. :)

Certain thoughts POINT TO actual experience, like the labels ‘sensation, image/colour, sound, smell, taste, thought’.
But most thoughts do NOT POINT DIRECTLY to AE, but rather they point to THOUGHTS ABOUT AE.
Like the thought label apple.

Have a look at an apple. If you have a ‘real’ apple, you can use it for this exercise (or any other fruit will do).

Image

When looking at an apple, there's colour; a thought saying ‘apple’; and maybe a thought saying, "I'm looking at an apple."
What is known for sure? Colour is known and thoughts are known.

What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?

Actual experience does not refer to thoughts ABOUT something…because that is only just more thought. Actual experience is sound, thought, colour, smell, taste, sensation.

Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour 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.

This is what is meant by ‘looking in actual experience ‘. What you know for sure, and, is always here.

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?

Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:30 pm

Hi Vivien

Radio waves can't be described in AE, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
.
I find it much easier to comprehend what you are talking about using the example of the self. The 'self' is clearly a label ( a thought and a thought about a thought) and when you try and look for the self well you cant find one.

An apple on the other hand clearly does exist because you can eat it, feel it, smell it, taste it. You can't do any of these things with the self on the other hand. There are thoughts about the self, there is the sound of a voice, there is the thought that that voice is 'my' voice, but I definitely can't eat, feel, smell, taste or hear the self. And this is why I find your example of an apple so confusing. The notion that the self does not exist seems pretty reasonable. But not the apple.

I do get that Apple is just a convenient label, but I am still confused by you saying the apple does not exist. Are you saying that it is the label 'Apple' that is not real, but what is real is a red thing, that can be eaten, smelt, tasted etc?

I'm feeling a bit thick here, sorry! As you are clearly working hard to get me to understand this and I feel I am failing miserably.

Regards, Al

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:43 am

Hi Al,
Radio waves can't be described in AE, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
We talked about conventional reality before when investigating the brain. So, yes conventionally speaking radio waves exists. But when we investigate the self, we cannot get anywhere with conventional ‘truths’. Since conventional truths are the results of thinking, which is exactly what is creating the illusion of the self, by creating concepts. We have to look ‘behind’ this conceptual overlay, and see what is really there without concepts.

Conventionally speaking the radio waves is a useful concept, just as many other concepts. But when we want to see through the illusion, we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself.

Please read through my previous comment about the baby again a few more times.
And this is why I find your example of an apple so confusing. The notion that the self does not exist seems pretty reasonable. But not the apple.
We are not trying to deny whether the apple exists or not. We are just look the difference between AE and what thoughts are ABOUT AE.

Whether an apple exists or not, is just the question of which point of view it’s looked at. From the point of view of conventional truth, or for from the point of view of direct experience.

But we are not trying to either deny or prove the existence of the apple or the physical world. This would be a philosophical exploration, and we are not aiming to find THE ultimate truth, by making conclusion.

We just investigating what can be known directly by looking at AE, and what is only a thought interpretation about AE.
I do get that Apple is just a convenient label, but I am still confused by you saying the apple does not exist. Are you saying that it is the label 'Apple' that is not real, but what is real is a red thing, that can be eaten, smelt, tasted etc?
We are not saying that the apple does not exist.
We are saying that an apple as such cannot be directly experienced. Can you see the difference?

An apple on the other hand clearly does exist because you can eat it, feel it, smell it, taste it
The visual image of an apple = image/color
when the apple is touched = sensation
the cracking sound of biting in the apple = sound
the fragrant of the apple = smell
the flavour of the apple = taste
the world label ‘apple’ = thought

So in AE there is a colour + sensation + sound + smell + taste + thought. Is this clear so far?

Can you see that ONLY thoughts (mental concepts) link these 6 elements and creates an object called apple?

But what is the AE of an apple? Is an image, sensation, sound, smell, taste, or thought?

Can an ‘apple’ as such be directly experienced?
Or only the COLOR labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the SENSATION labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the SOUND labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the SMELL labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the TASTE labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the THOUGHT label ‘apple’ can be experienced?


Again, we are not after proving or denying the existence of the apple or the world. Let philosophers ponder on that. It’s their territory, not ours.

We just making the distinction what can be directly experienced, and what is just a thought conceptualization about the experience, as I pointed out in ‘baby-growing-up’ description previously.
I'm feeling a bit thick here, sorry! As you are clearly working hard to get me to understand this and I feel I am failing miserably.
You’re not failing miserable. You’re just got frightened a bit by the possibility that the wold and things as you currently believe them to be might not in correspondence with what is actually going on. So resistance came up. But that’s all right. It’s normal. We are just investigating here, and not making definite conclusions about the existence of the physical world.

Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:02 pm

Please read through my previous comment about the baby again a few more times.
Yes I have done this and your point is much clearer now. Essentially you are asking me to look behind the label of things and ask myself what I am actually aware of in DE.
We are not saying that the apple does not exist.
We are saying that an apple as such cannot be directly experienced. Can you see the difference?
Yes I do see the difference now. I think the problem was I was getting lost a bit on a philosophical discussion about whether something exists or not, and I now get that you were just asking me what I was actually aware of when looking at an apple, for example.

When you say
We are just look the difference between AE and what thoughts are ABOUT AE.
it helps me realize that I am very used to mistaking thoughts about something for the thing itself.
So in AE there is a colour + sensation + sound + smell + taste + thought. Is this clear so far?
Can you see that ONLY thoughts (mental concepts) link these 6 elements and creates an object called apple?
Yes I do see how thought is the ingredient that unites all the other elements to 'create' the apple. In other words if I look at an apple and am aware of the colour, this awareness shows up in thought. It seems that when I see, for example, the colour of something, the thought of what colour it is happens so lightening fast that I wonder if it is actually possible to experience sight, smell, taste, sound and sensation without thought?

As I sit on the bed writing these words, and for a moment close my eyes, I can experience in AE the sensation of sitting without an accompanying thought.

Can you help me to look for the answer here? Does thought ALWAYS accompany the five senses? It seems that sometimes this is the case but other times when for example I am sitting quietly in nature, I am just experiencing the different senses without thoughts arising...
Can an ‘apple’ as such be directly experienced?
Or only the COLOR labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the SENSATION labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the SOUND labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the SMELL labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the TASTE labelled by thought as ‘apple’ can be experienced?
And the THOUGHT label ‘apple’ can be experienced?
No an apple as such cannot be directly experienced. It is the thought about the five senses that can be experienced only.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:26 am

Hi Al,
Essentially you are asking me to look behind the label of things and ask myself what I am actually aware of in DE.
Exactly!
it helps me realize that I am very used to mistaking thoughts about something for the thing itself.
That’s why we do these exercises.
the thought of what colour it is happens so lightening fast that I wonder if it is actually possible to experience sight, smell, taste, sound and sensation without thought?
It's possible, but we are not after getting into a state where there are no thoughts appearing. We just become aware how thoughts, the conceptual overlays are interpreting and even distorting the AE.
Can you help me to look for the answer here? Does thought ALWAYS accompany the five senses?
Not necessarily. But as I mentioned above, our aim is NOT to get into a state where there are no thoughts.

Here are some statements based on our investigation so far. Please read them careful, and see if you are clear on them. If any of them are not totally clear, please let me know.

- In actual experience thoughts don’t come and go from anywhere. They just there when they are there. And when they are not there anymore, then they are just simply not there.
- The supposed ‘me’ has no power over thoughts. None.
- Thoughts just appear on their own, without anyone or anything doing it.
- There is nothing that is thinking thoughts. Thinking happens, or rather say thoughts appear but without a thinker. There is no thinker of thoughts.
- Thoughts have no power whatsoever. They cannot think or do anything.
- Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.
- In actual experience there is not even a mind. There might be thoughts about a ‘mind’, but ‘mind’ as such cannot be found.

Look at each statement carefully. Is there anything in the above text that is not totally clear?


Here is an exercise.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?


During the day, try to observe as many thoughts as you can. Particularly try to pay attention to narrating thoughts. Thoughts that are constantly narrating and judging what’s going on from the perspective of ‘me’.

Let me know what you find.


Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:47 pm

Hi Vivien
- In actual experience thoughts don’t come and go from anywhere. They just there when they are there. And when they are not there anymore, then they are just simply not there.
- The supposed ‘me’ has no power over thoughts. None.
- Thoughts just appear on their own, without anyone or anything doing it.
- There is nothing that is thinking thoughts. Thinking happens, or rather say thoughts appear but without a thinker. There is no thinker of thoughts.
- Thoughts have no power whatsoever. They cannot think or do anything.
- Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.
- In actual experience there is not even a mind. There might be thoughts about a ‘mind’, but ‘mind’ as such cannot be found.
Yes I agree with all this. However a thought arises well if I really agree with all this then why isn't the non existence of the self unequivocally accepted as fact. Which I don't think it is yet. I guess there are levels of agreement. There is the not being able to find a thinker of thoughts, and then there is the emotional impact of that information, which is another thought.

So yes I do agree with all those statements but I think there is a level of agreeing that I have not quite reached because I tell myself I am not really engaging fully with the truth of these statements. I can quite easily say OK, yup,I cant find someone doing these thought's, so there is no thinker. But have I really understood and accepted the significance of what is being said here? Hmm...I'm not sure about that. After all after 50 years of believing I've made my own luck (or lack of) in life, to see that I had nothing to do with it, is a level of understanding that I don't think I can say I honestly have. So my question is when you ask me if I understand all these statements, well I'm not entirely sure if I can say I completely do, because if I truly did, I tell myself that I would be stumbling around in a state of shock, or some other state linked to realising that the whole basis that I assumed to be at the centre of life ( me experiencing and doing life), was actually untrue.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?
So on the self side I marked 9 thoughts and on the other side I wrote down five thoughts that I thought were about other people but in fact were related to me. They were:

A thought about Ben and my 50th party I am having in two weeks. ( I thought it was about 'Ben' but then I see that he is 'my' best friend and it is regarding 'my' party)

Picking up my daughter from school. ( I thought this was about my daughter but then I see it is about 'me' picking her up)

Deidre helping do the cocktails for the party. (But then I see again it is about 'my' party)

A thought about the bus going to the party. ( Again I see how the bus is going to 'my' party)

Finally, paying Joseph to do the gardening. (That is 'me' paying him).

SO the exercise showed me that I did not have any thoughts (in this 5 minutes) about anything not related to 'me.'

I will observe my thoughts during the days and come back to you on that.

Al.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 1946
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:10 am

Hi Al,
However a thought arises well if I really agree with all this then why isn't the non existence of the self unequivocally accepted as fact. Which I don't think it is yet. I guess there are levels of agreement.
It seems to me that you are too hard on yourself, but correct me if I’m wrong. We’ve just started the investigations, and it seems there is a judgment coming up of ‘not getting it’. Please be patient and gentle on yourself, we have enough time :)
But have I really understood and accepted the significance of what is being said here? Hmm...I'm not sure about that.
You don’t have to understand and accept on the intellectual level of no-self. It’s enough to see it clearly, and acceptance and understanding happens by themselves. You don’t have to make them happen.

Imagine someone who has a belief that he has a sixth toe on his left foot.
How would you help this person to drop his belief?
You could try to explain to him and show scientific studies that humans have only 5 toes on each foot.
You can show him statistical charts showing the number of humans having 6 toes compare to having 5 toes only, with the conclusion that the chance that he has a sixth toe is very-very low.
You could even show your feet and say: “See, I have only 5 toes, therefore you too have only 5 toes on you left foot”

Or you can ask him to take off his boots and LOOK AT DIRECTLY his left foot and SEE that indeed he has only 5 toes.
And after he discovered by direct seeing that he indeed doesn’t have a sixth toe, would he walk around with thinking and trying to convince himself again and again “I don’t have a sixth toe… I don’t have a sixth toe….”?

Or the belief just fall away by itself after he had seen that he indeed has 5 toes only?
Of course doubt could arise out of habit believing in the existence of a sixth foot in his all life, but each time he take a look at his foot, it’s clear that there is no sixth foot. It’s always been just an imagination.

So you have to look for the self again and again, as if you were looking for a sixth foot, until it clicks that indeed there is no self in any shape or form.
well I'm not entirely sure if I can say I completely do, because if I truly did, I tell myself that I would be stumbling around in a state of shock, or some other state linked to realising that the whole basis that I assumed to be at the centre of life ( me experiencing and doing life), was actually untrue.
Don’t expect that seeing no self would result in a state of shock :) shock might or might not happen, but usually not. But if you measure the success of seeing through the self with the presence of a shock, then you might miss the small gradual insights that usually occur with this investigation.
SO the exercise showed me that I did not have any thoughts (in this 5 minutes) about anything not related to 'me.'
Yes.
Picking up my daughter from school. ( I thought this was about my daughter but then I see it is about 'me' picking her up)
Yes, and she is MY daughter
Deidre helping do the cocktails for the party. (But then I see again it is about 'my' party)
Yes, and Deidre is MY partner/wife/friend, or whoever she is to you
I will observe my thoughts during the days and come back to you on that.
So, what have you noticed?

Almost every thought, if not all, is about the self. Sometimes it might not be as obvious, but when looked at it a bit more closely, it turns out that this ‘narrating mind’ is always about me (some way or another).

Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.

Vivien

User avatar
GreatGatsby
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 am

Re: unambiguous clarity

Postby GreatGatsby » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:11 am

It seems to me that you are too hard on yourself, but correct me if I’m wrong. We’ve just started the investigations, and it seems there is a judgment coming up of ‘not getting it’. Please be patient and gentle on yourself, we have enough time :)
Yes there was a thought about the thought that other people on this site seem to sometimes see the illusion after 20 or so posts.... Anyway I am relieved to hear that you have the time to help me (dare I say it however long this may take? Ok maybe not that long :)!
You don’t have to understand and accept on the intellectual level of no-self. It’s enough to see it clearly, and acceptance and understanding happens by themselves. You don’t have to make them happen.
Having read your post I see that my looking IS clearer and IS more revealing, even if it isn't perfect. And yes an old habit of being hard on myself regularly resurfaces. I am enjoying quietly examining AE.
Or you can ask him to take off his boots and LOOK AT DIRECTLY his left foot and SEE that indeed he has only 5 toes.
And after he discovered by direct seeing that he indeed doesn’t have a sixth toe, would he walk around with thinking and trying to convince himself again and again “I don’t have a sixth toe… I don’t have a sixth toe….”?
Yes that is a helpful story. It helps me to reframe 'looking' as something easy, natural and enjoyable even, especially when I let the idea go that it is some 'special art' or skill' that only people ripe for crossing the gate have. Having a guide of course makes all the difference. Otherwise I could do as is very common, not see what is sometimes right in front of you.
Don’t expect that seeing no self would result in a state of shock :) shock might or might not happen, but usually not. But if you measure the success of seeing through the self with the presence of a shock, then you might miss the small gradual insights that usually occur with this investigation.
Yes I see that was an assumption (about the future) and what I am gradually seeing is that the future doesn't really exist, and I may as well stay with AE because life is hard enough without frightening / worrying about the future, or lamenting or regretting the past. And the more I do this, the more I am relieved because I can see that thoughts endlessly pop up with a story about the future, and very often this story is not helpful or sweet. And I then I see that these thoughts disappear as effortlessly as they came in the first place so I am noticing the thought: 'This will pass'. And if it will pass, then why get so bothered about it.

In the last 24 hours I have noticed endless stories about my past, present and future. I have noticed thoughts about things I need to do, thoughts about what I will be doing tomorrow, or over the weekend. And I am noticing now that it is ALL about ME! Wow! No wonder the illusion is so entrenched when it is reaffirmed a thousand times a day every day of our lives.
Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.
Yes I can see that all these points you have made are true. And the sad thing about this all is that it serves to take me away from the beauty and preciousness of just what is happening NOW. I suppose that given I have no control over this incessant stream of thoughts, I can adopt a dispassionate attitude to this stream. I can notice the thought, and think the thought this is just a thought (and it will pass), and I can ask myself 'Is it true?( Byron Katie). And I am finding incrementally that this observing of AE helps me to stop torturing myself about the 'failure' I often tell myself I am.

So instead of getting hooked into the thoughts of 'why aren't I more successful, richer, more disciplined, less hopeless.' I can look and take comfort from the thought that these are just thoughts, they come and they go, so I can just stand back and notice them. It seems to be helping in my general level of reactivity too.

Thank you.
Al


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 0 guests