How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:36 am

Hi Vivien,
“Please go to the fridge and take out some food or drink. Watch like a hawk.”
I did this exercise for different choices made throughout the day (in addition to selecting something to eat or drink in the fridge).

“How is a decision is made?”
Each time there are both thoughts about making a decision (e.g. “Should I watch TV or should I not watch TV?”) as well as the real decision which is manifest by the action that’s actually taken by the body (e.g. in the previous example it is “not watching TV”.)

Thoughts about the decision show up by themselves. The decision making process leading to the real decision is unobserved.

“WHAT is making the decision?”
No one is making thoughts about deciding appear. Similarly, what leads the body to take a particular action (ie. what’s making the real decision) is not experienced.

“During the day when there is a seeming choosing or decision making is happening, look for the exact moment when choosing happening.”
“Is there a chooser at ANY time?”
When a decision is seemingly made, no one can be found behind thoughts like “I am sure now…this is my decision”. The thoughts and the knowing appear simultaneously.

N : “Even without an "I", a decision is also associated with a sense of control.”
“Please put the attention on the ‘sense of control’. Do this as many times as possible during the day and inquire:”
“How the ‘sense of control’ is experienced?” “What is it made of?”
It’s a combination of thoughts about making a decision and a sensation.

“Where is its location?”
The sensation itself is located in the area from the head to the chest. As for thoughts, there is just the awareness of them. They do not appear in a particular location.

“What is owning this ‘sense of control’?”
Thoughts are not owned by anybody. They just appear.
No one has ownership over the sensation from head to chest.

“What is having a ‘sense of control’?”
There is no direct experience of “having a sense of control”. There are just thoughts appearing spontaneously and a sensation that is not owned by anybody.

Naya

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Vivien
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:51 am

Hi Naya,
No one is making thoughts about deciding appear. Similarly, what leads the body to take a particular action (ie. what’s making the real decision) is not experienced.
What is making the decision is not experienced or is it simply not there?

In other words, the decision maker is not experiencable, or there has never ever been a decision maker, since it has always been just an imagination?
There is no direct experience of “having a sense of control”. There are just thoughts appearing spontaneously and a sensation that is not owned by anybody.
So there is no experience of ‘having a sense of control’.
And is there an experience of a ‘sense of control’?

That sensation is the ‘sense of control’ OR is it just a plain sensation without any attributes or characteristics?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:17 pm

Hi Vivien,
“What is making the decision is not experienced or is it simply not there?”
It is not there. There is no one inside the body that’s making a decision. What I had in mind when I said this was a series of chemical reactions leading the body to perform a particular action. But even then, there is no independent entity inside the body that would cause these chemical reactions to happen.

“In other words, the decision maker is not experiencable, or there has never ever been a decision maker, since it has always been just an imagination?”
Yes. There is no decision maker behind thoughts or action.

“N: There is no direct experience of “having a sense of control”. There are just thoughts appearing spontaneously and a sensation that is not owned by anybody.”
“So there is no experience of ‘having a sense of control’.”
“And is there an experience of a ‘sense of control’?”
No. There is just a sensation.
That sensation is the ‘sense of control’ OR is it just a plain sensation without any attributes or characteristics?
It is simply a sensation. Any characteristics added onto it would be a concept that’s not experienced.

Naya

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Vivien
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:24 am

Hi Naya,
There is no decision maker behind thoughts or action.
Is it totally clear that there is no such thing a chooser?

Is it completely clear that there is no I/me choosing or deciding?

Is it totally clear that there is no such thing as choice or free will?

If not, please write some examples when it seems to be otherwise.


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:11 am

Hi Vivien,
“Is it totally clear that there is no such thing a chooser?”
Although most of the day I am hypnotized into believing that I am making choices, when I stop and inquire “what is choosing this?”, I always notice that thoughts about choice / decision-making appear spontaneously. I can’t find a decision-maker prior to thoughts about decisions.

“Is it completely clear that there is no I/me choosing or deciding?”
It is clear when I inquire about “What is making this decision?” It is also clear that most of the day the body moves on its own without any prior decision-making.

“Is it totally clear that there is no such thing as choice or free will?”
I can see clearly how there is no free will as any choice always depends on a multitude of other conditions over which I have no control.

As for choice, I would say that choices are seemingly made (e.g. the choice to have breakfast or to write an email) but there is no one that can found behind these choices. They are just thoughts.

“If not, please write some examples when it seems to be otherwise.”
So far, I can’t come up with an example of a choice involving an independent decision-maker.

Naya

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Vivien
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:26 am

Hi Naya,
So far, I can’t come up with an example of a choice involving an independent decision-maker.
Great! :) If any doubt comes up, please let me know, so we can have a look.
Although most of the day I am hypnotized into believing that I am making choices, when I stop and inquire “what is choosing this?”, I always notice that thoughts about choice / decision-making appear spontaneously.
“Most of the day I am hypnotized into believing that I am making choices” – look for the ONE that is being hypnotized.

WHERE is it?
And WHAT is being hypnotized most of the day?

Is there anything that doesn’t feel clear and you would like to investigate it?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:32 am

Thanks Vivien,
I will get back to you tomorrow.

Naya

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:29 am

Hi Vivien,
“Most of the day I am hypnotized into believing that I am making choices” – look for the ONE that is being hypnotized.
WHERE is it?
What is happening when I feel that there is an “I” making decisions is “lost is thought”. Self-referencing thoughts are being noticed throughout the day but the “I” making decisions cannot be seen in experience.

“And WHAT is being hypnotized most of the day?”
There is just “lost in thoughts”. It is happening to no one.

“Is there anything that doesn’t feel clear and you would like to investigate it?”

1) Do all thoughts appear spontaneously?

Naya : “Although most of the day I am hypnotized into believing that I am making choices, when I stop and inquire “what is choosing this?”, I always notice that thoughts about choice / decision-making appear spontaneously.”

Actually, this is not true. Today, when I was asking “Do all thoughts appear spontaneously?” “Do we choose some of our thoughts?” I did not always come up with a positive answer. This is something that I will need to further investigate. We’ve already addressed this issue in the past but the fact that I am still asking the same question shows that it’s not clear yet.
Let’s take the example of an internal dialogue I just had about these questions.

“A: Not all thoughts appear spontaneously.
B: I can choose to have specific thoughts.
C: I can choose to direct my thinking about a particular issue.
D: Right now I can choose to think about my left hand.
E: I can also choose to raise my left hand.”

Although I can see that the “I” in these sentences cannot be found in experience, I am not 100% convinced that these thoughts appeared spontaneously. It feels that there was some intentionality behind them. They did not seem to appear at random.


2) Seeing that I am not the body

I am not yet experiencing the sensation called the body as something impersonal. I have questions such as: Why am “I” the only one who can feel this body? Certainly this body feels more personal than an object like the door in front of me or any other body. Why am I the only one who can move these arms and legs? Why is this sensation called body felt most of the time (except when I am asleep)?

The illusion of self is also sustained by the mind-body connection. Thoughts are seemingly perceived at the level of this body. They have an impact on the movement of and the sensations felt by this body. They do not impact another body or object.

Sometimes I also get lost into believing that the body is a subject/an experiencer to whom things are happening. Throughout the day, it seems that the body is seeing, tasting and feeling sensations.


3) Timeline / expectations
Is there an expectation on the side of LU guides regarding the time it takes to see “no self”?
I do not want to waste your time and I am happy to take a brake if you feel that I have reached a wall. It won't hurt my feelings ;-).


Naya

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Vivien
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:46 am

Hi Naya,

You did a great job at pointing out the things that needs to be looked at.
3) Timeline / expectations
Is there an expectation on the side of LU guides regarding the time it takes to see “no self”?
I do not want to waste your time and I am happy to take a brake if you feel that I have reached a wall. It won't hurt my feelings ;-).
No, there is no timeline at all. The only thing that matters is your commitment to this inquiry.
If you are committed and you want to see through the self once and for all, no matter how long it takes, I am here to help you along the way, regardless how long it takes.

So, are you committed?

If you are, we can start with thoughts. After, we can move to seeing than the ‘I’ is not the body.
Actually, this is not true. Today, when I was asking “Do all thoughts appear spontaneously?” “Do we choose some of our thoughts?” I did not always come up with a positive answer. This is something that I will need to further investigate.
OK. So this shows that there is a belief that there is someone or something which has the power of choosing thoughts.
Although I can see that the “I” in these sentences cannot be found in experience, I am not 100% convinced that these thoughts appeared spontaneously. It feels that there was some intentionality behind them. They did not seem to appear at random.
But if thoughts don’t appear spontaneously, then WHAT is it that is making them to appear?

Please sit down, close your eyes, and just watch how thoughts come and go. After some time, investigate:

WHAT is making thoughts to appear?


Be careful not to go to thought speculations, but ACTUALLY SEARCH for the ONE that is producing or making the thoughts to appear.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:45 am

Hi Vivien,
“No, there is no timeline at all. The only thing that matters is your commitment to this inquiry.
If you are committed and you want to see through the self once and for all, no matter how long it takes, I am here to help you along the way, regardless how long it takes.”
“So, are you committed?”
Yes, I am entirely committed. Although, like all of us, I am sometimes overwhelmed by my worldly obligations, I don’t see anything more important in my life than seeing through the illusion of self. Thank you for being willing to guide me through this process!

I do have doubts about my worthiness to complete this inquiry successfully. (Those who have seen through the illusion of self have something special…they have purified their karma :-) !) I just wanted to make sure that it was OK with you if I was not as ‘productive’ as the average seeker.

“Naya : Although I can see that the “I” in these sentences cannot be found in experience, I am not 100% convinced that these thoughts appeared spontaneously. It feels that there was some intentionality behind them. They did not seem to appear at random.”
“But if thoughts don’t appear spontaneously, then WHAT is it that is making them to appear?”
What confuses me is the difference between voluntary and involuntary thinking. With involuntary thinking it is absolutely clear that thoughts show up automatically. Today, for instance, I could not stop myself from thinking about an argument I have had earlier. I could clearly see that these thoughts caused a lot of discomfort. I was sick and tired of having them and yet I could not prevent them from coming.

In the case of voluntary thinking, there is an agenda behind the thinking (or is there?) such as planning, answering questions, writing an email or solving a problem. Thoughts that show up are somewhat connected. They sometimes show up in a logical order. The body also expends energy which gives the illusion that there is somebody doing something.

I mistakenly understood ‘spontaneously’ as meaning lack of order, haphazardness, or effortlessness.

If I look closely, I can see that even deliberate thinking happens on its own.

It seems strange, though, that something that is not done by anybody has an intention behind it (e.g. completing an email).

“Please sit down, close your eyes, and just watch how thoughts come and go. After some time, investigate :”
“WHAT is making thoughts to appear?”
When I seat without the intent of thinking, it’s pretty clear that thoughts appear by themselves.
When I think to write these words, for instance, I experience a sensation called ‘effort’, I feel the body, I witness thoughts appearing after the sensation called ‘effort’, but I do not experience an entity that’s producing these thoughts.


Naya

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Vivien
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:09 am

Hi Naya,
I do have doubts about my worthiness to complete this inquiry successfully. (Those who have seen through the illusion of self have something special…they have purified their karma :-) !)
OK, here are two beliefs.

First, there is a belief that seeing through the self is the end. But it’s not. It’s just the first step, just the BEGINNING.

And the other is that there is such thing as karma. Yes, this is a popular belief, but that’s all. It’s just a spiritual belief.

In order for this belief to be true, first there has to be a Self which has a karma and can purify it.

But is there a Self (with purified or un-purified karma)?

Having karma is about the BELIEF in the existence of a separate self.

So WHERE is you-self that has karma?
WHERE is the owner of the karma?
WHAT does karma belong TO?

It seems strange, though, that something that is not done by anybody has an intention behind it (e.g. completing an email).
BEHIND WHAT should intention be?

And how intention itself is experienced?

Is there an ACTUAL intention hiding somewhere, or is it just an ASSUMPTION?

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:10 am

Hi Vivien,
“And the other is that there is such thing as karma. Yes, this is a popular belief, but that’s all. It’s just a spiritual belief.

In order for this belief to be true, first there has to be a Self which has a karma and can purify it.”
“But is there a Self (with purified or un-purified karma)?”
In experience, there is only sensing, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and thinking. There is no experiencing of a soul inside the body which has a track record that can be improved.

“Having karma is about the BELIEF in the existence of a separate self.”
Does that mean that there is no reincarnation as well ?! This would also imply the existence of a self which gets “transferred” from one organism to the next. I can’t point to any evidence supporting the existence of reincarnation but I have heard well known spiritual teachers talking about their past lives.

So WHERE is you-self that has karma ?
The closest thing that looks like karma are thoughts about good and bad things done by this body. But these are just thoughts coming and going. They are not held in a container called karma.

Also the body is just a living organism with no traces of past actions imprinted on it.

WHERE is the owner of the karma?
At this moment, there is only the experiencing of bodily sensations and the perception of thoughts, and sounds. There is no entity that has karma.

WHAT does karma belong TO?
There is no experiencing of karma or of a self to whom it belongs.
It seems strange, though, that something that is not done by anybody has an intention behind it (e.g. completing an email).
BEHIND WHAT should intention be?
An intention is behind an action. (e.g. an action is completed with the intention of cleaning up the room or cooking a dish).

And how intention itself is experienced?
An intention itself is not experienced. There are only thoughts about intention. (e.g. “I want to cook lunch, I want to clean up the room.”)

Is there an ACTUAL intention hiding somewhere, or is it just an ASSUMPTION?
An intention is only an assumption. It’s not something that is ever experienced.


Naya

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Vivien
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:24 am

Hi Naya,
Does that mean that there is no reincarnation as well ?! This would also imply the existence of a self which gets “transferred” from one organism to the next. I can’t point to any evidence supporting the existence of reincarnation but I have heard well known spiritual teachers talking about their past lives.
With this investigation we are not diving into speculations. Reincarnation is a religious and philosophical belief. And we are not trying to figure out the un-figurable :)

We are purely looking at the FACTS of reality.
The closest thing that looks like karma are thoughts about good and bad things done by this body. But these are just thoughts coming and going. They are not held in a container called karma.
Also the body is just a living organism with no traces of past actions imprinted on it.
Yes, nice looking. Karma is just a spiritual concept.
An intention itself is not experienced. There are only thoughts about intention. (e.g. “I want to cook lunch, I want to clean up the room.”)
An intention is only an assumption. It’s not something that is ever experienced.
Yes. So is it possible that intention just another conceptual thought label to certain other thoughts (like, I want to cook lunch)?

Now, let’s go back investigating if there is such thing as intentionally thinking about something.

Please try to ‘intentionally’ think of a 2-digit number. After, investigate:

Why did you choose that number?
Why not the previous number, or the next one? Do you know?
If not, why don’t you know?

If you are the thinker of thoughts, then you must know how you create them.
So how did you create the thought of the number you choose?

Repeat the experiment at least 10 times (or more) before replying.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:26 am

Sounds good, Vivien. I will get back to you tomorrow.
Naya

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NayaCardena
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Re: How do I realize the illusion of the separate self?

Postby NayaCardena » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:22 am

Hi Vivien,
“An intention itself is not experienced. There are only thoughts about intention. (e.g. “I want to cook lunch, I want to clean up the room.”)
An intention is only an assumption. It’s not something that is ever experienced.”
“Yes. So it is possible that intention just another conceptual thought label to certain other thoughts (like, I want to cook lunch) ? ”
Yes. That makes sense. Words like intention, goal or outcome point to other thoughts.

Now, let’s go back investigating if there is such thing as intentionally thinking about something.
Please try to ‘intentionally’ think of a 2-digit number. After, investigate:
“Why did you choose that number?”
Several numbers showed up. A decision was made to pick one of them but there is no reason why I chose it.

“Why not the previous number, or the next one? Do you know?”
There is no reason why one number was more appealing than the other ones. I can only come up with speculations (e.g. because that’s my age) but I don’t know that they are true.

“If not, why don’t you know?”
I can never find a reason why I chose to select one number over another.

“If you are the thinker of thoughts, then you must know how you create them.”
“So how did you create the thought of the number you choose?”
The thought about the number I chose just appeared fully formed. I did not create it.

Naya


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