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 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:45 am

Dear Vivien,
1) “What is it that identifies with the body?”
When looking, the “I” that identifies with the body is seen to be nonexistent.

2) “Where is the identifier?”
There is just a bunch of sensations that are felt (ie. the body) but there is nobody there to identify with them.

3) “What is it that suffers?”
The suffering is a thought that says, for instance “I want to be free from identifying with this body” and associated emotions/bodily sensations. These thoughts and sensations are not happening to anybody.

4) “What does suffering is happening TO or belonging TO?”
The negative thoughts and uncomfortable sensations seem to happen to ‘me’. But upon looking, this ‘me’ cannot be found in experience. So they just arise but do not belong or happen to anyone.
Please be careful with your looking. If you say that there is no identifier, nor sufferer, then you have to be 100% sure of it. And then all your problems are solved.
I don’t see a contradiction in the idea of observing an object performing a task. (For instance, observing the body eating food.)
5) “And what is that that observes the body eating food?”
Bodily sensations are just experienced, including when the body is eating food. There is no independent entity prior to the knowing/experiencing of bodily sensations.

Naya

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

Postby Vivien » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:02 am

Dear Naya,

Have you seen my second yesterday’s post? In case you haven’t, here it is again:

You cannot say that you can see that there is no identifier nor a sufferer, and yet at the same time being concerned of identifying with the body, and not wanting to suffer.
Because one of the statements are simply not true.


So you say that it’s clear that there is no identifier, and no sufferer. And the thought about suffering doesn’t happen to anybody.

Can you say with 100% certainty that it has been clearly seen without any doubt? Would you put your life on it?

How does it feel to see this?

If there is no identifier nor a sufferer, then why is the need to be detached form bodily sensations and become as impersonal as a door?

Who an Earth could detach from bodily sensation?

Is there an expectation to loose certain emotions, like fear, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, frustration, etc?


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 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:10 am

Dear Vivien,
Have you seen my second yesterday’s post? In case you haven’t, here it is again:

“You cannot say that you can see that there is no identifier nor a sufferer, and yet at the same time being concerned of identifying with the body, and not wanting to suffer.
Because one of the statements are simply not true.”
Do you mean that a litmus test for whether I have clearly seen that there is no self is no longer wanting to des-identify from bodily sensations since they will be recognized as just sensations with no self behind them? Do you also imply that somebody who has clearly seen that there is no self does not want to get rid of uncomfortable feelings? The first claim makes sense. As for the second one, if this is true, then I have definitely not seen that there is no self…Although when I experience difficult emotions I no longer numb myself like I used and feel comfortable enough to stay with the sensations and explore the root cause of my suffering, I am on the spiritual path with the hope that it will bring more peace into my life.

“So you say that it’s clear that there is no identifier, and no sufferer. And the thought about suffering doesn’t happen to anybody.”
1) “Can you say with 100% certainty that it has been clearly seen without any doubt? Would you put your life on it?”
No, I would not. Today, for instance, I felt exasperated at one person in my life and the thought that these emotions did not happen to anybody did not even cross my mind. I was not completely hypnotized by these emotions in that I could still notice them instead of acting on them but there was no recognition that they were not personal.
This is only noticed in the specific moments when I inquire whether there is anybody experiencing these sensations.

2) How does it feel to see this?
When I conduct this inquiry, I am usually in a peaceful state of mind, and noticing that there is no one feeling bodily sensations does not change my experience.

3) “If there is no identifier nor a sufferer, then why is the need to be detached form bodily sensations and become as impersonal as a door?”
There was simply a belief that seeing the body as an impersonal object would translate into a different perception of the body and possibly would lead to more peace. As you suggested earlier, seeing that there is no self inside the body does not change the illusion of a body that has a sense of self.
Although I can’t speak from the perspective of somebody who is 100% that there is no self I can still imagine how one would want to address negative thought patterns and associated emotions after this realization.

4) “Who an Earth could detach from bodily sensation?”
If there is no self, then bodily sensations are just noticed intermittently (sometimes attention is directed at thoughts and there is no awareness of bodily sensations…) and there is no one to detach from them. There are just thoughts that say “I don’t like this, this is uncomfortable.” But these thoughts also arise spontaneously. They are not thought by anybody.

5) “Is there an expectation to lose certain emotions, like fear, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, frustration, etc?”
You were pretty clear at the beginning of this inquiry that the goal was to be certain that there is no self. It was not to achieve nirvana or human perfection. You also said that psychological issues are things that need to be worked on separately and that they can last until the end of the human organism.
On the other hand, like all people, I am on the spiritual path with the hope that being less ignorant will progressively bring more peace into “my” life. But I understand that there is no direct cause/effect relationship (e.g. If I meditate 1 hour, I will get specific results; or if I conclude this inquiry I will be happier right away.).


Naya

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

Postby Vivien » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:23 am

Dear Naya,

Sorry for the late reply, I had a busy day.
Do you mean that a litmus test for whether I have clearly seen that there is no self is no longer wanting to des-identify from bodily sensations since they will be recognized as just sensations with no self behind them?
Not necessarily. But rather seeing when this wanting is coming up, it’s based on an illusion, so this desire/want cannot be taken too seriously. These just thoughts, nothing else.
Do you also imply that somebody who has clearly seen that there is no self does not want to get rid of uncomfortable feelings?
Definitely not. Seeing through the self is just the beginning and not the end. Lots of further looking is needed to let go of the habitual wanting and not wanting of certain sensations/emotions.
Although when I experience difficult emotions I no longer numb myself like I used and feel comfortable enough to stay with the sensations and explore the root cause of my suffering, I am on the spiritual path with the hope that it will bring more peace into my life.
You see, this is the problem. You still believe the thoughts that there is a ‘me’ who wants to bring more peace into its life.
You are still believing that sensations (both pleasant or unpleasant) are belonging to me.
I was not completely hypnotized by these emotions in that I could still notice them instead of acting on them but there was no recognition that they were not personal.
“I was not completely hypnotized’ – Can you see that there is still the belief that there is a ‘me’ that can be hypnotized by emotions and thoughts?
V: ) How does it feel to see this?
N: When I conduct this inquiry, I am usually in a peaceful state of mind, and noticing that there is no one feeling bodily sensations does not change my experience.
Naya, we are not trying to change experience! What I’m asking if there is an emotional response to the seeing that there is no self anywhere. NOT whether the experience has changed or not.

Imagine discovering that something so fundamental as learning that you were actually born on Mars. Wouldn’t you have a response of surprise, delight, or horror, or even a "wow, that's weird"?

It’s possible to take on no-self as a belief without being aware that there has been a shift in beliefs only, just replacing one belief with another. This shift in belief can be very convincing, but the only way you can see this is in retrospect, once a real, deep experiential shift has happened. And my job is this and point it out to you.
If there is no self, then bodily sensations are just noticed intermittently (sometimes attention is directed at thoughts and there is no awareness of bodily sensations…) and there is no one to detach from them. There are just thoughts that say “I don’t like this, this is uncomfortable.” But these thoughts also arise spontaneously. They are not thought by anybody.
“If there is no self…” – this comment shows that you are not really seeing that there is no self, but you are just convinced yourself (meaning took it on as a new belief) that there isn’t one. And probably you are unaware that this is what happened.

You are giving good sounding replies, but the ‘aliveness of the seeing’ is missing. Like barren words, without emotions. Really, seeing through the self is as fundamental and as surprising as discovering that you were born on Mars. Can you imagine that you wouldn’t have emotional response for that discovery?
On the other hand, like all people, I am on the spiritual path with the hope that being less ignorant will progressively bring more peace into “my” life.
Yes, probably this is one of the biggest reason why people embark on the spiritual path. However, at some point the discovery is that there is no me who has a life and need more peace. That the person who has embarked on the journey is imaginary with all her desires for peace.

And it’s seems that this discovery hasn’t happened for you yet. So we have more work to do.

I would like to ask you to search for this ‘me’ that has embarked on the spiritual path for more peace.
And as you do it, please write me the steps how you look for her. So write me in detail the process of looking for her.


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 Oct 14, 2019 3:44 am

Sounds good, Vivien. I will come 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 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:28 am

Dear Vivien,
“You are still believing that sensations (both pleasant or unpleasant) are belonging to me.”
Yes, probably most of the time. However, I can at least recognize when I investigate that thoughts and emotions do not belong to ‘me’ since they all arise spontaneously. Such is not the case when it comes to realizing that the body is not a separate experiencer.
When I reflected yesterday on places where I was stuck, I realized that even if I recognized the fact there was no agency inside the body, that there was no “I” who was in control, I still saw the body as the perceiver, seer, hearer, taster…
You’ve explained clearly that the goal was not to get rid of the illusion but simply to see it as an illusion. For some reason I am unable to even see the fact that the body is not an experciencer as an illusion…Or if I do, my understanding is shallow and I quickly forget what I thought was previously understood.
We’ve done a couple of exercises about that last month. Maybe I should do them again but it’s probably going to take me several days.

Naya : “I was not completely hypnotized by these emotions in that I could still notice them instead of acting on them but there was no recognition that they were not personal.”
“I was not completely hypnotized’ – Can you see that there is still the belief that there is a ‘me’ that can be hypnotized by emotions and thoughts?”
I was just using common ways of speaking in this phrase. I didn’t imply that I believe that there was a ‘me’ who could be hypnotized.

On the other hand, like all people, I am on the spiritual path with the hope that being less ignorant will progressively bring more peace into “my” life.
“I would like to ask you to search for this ‘me’ that has embarked on the spiritual path for more peace. And as you do it, please write me the steps how you look for her. So write me in detail the process of looking for her.”
When I search for this self that wants more peace I see first and foremost visual images of the past of this body engaged in spiritual inquiry for many many years (reading books, attending talks, watching youtube videos, etc).
There is also this strong sensation in the head and the chest that could be labeled as a longing.
There are also thoughts arising expressing a sense of frustration about ‘me’ not getting it and about this search taking so long.

Naya

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

Postby Vivien » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:17 am

Dear Naya,
I realized that even if I recognized the fact there was no agency inside the body, that there was no “I” who was in control, I still saw the body as the perceiver, seer, hearer, taster…
So the body is the agency?

Please don’t give intellectual answers here. Don’t conceptualize, analyse or speculate.

What is the experiential evidence that the body is the agency of performing the act of ‘perceiving’, ‘seeing’, ‘hearing’, ‘tasting’, ‘thinking’?
V: “I was not completely hypnotized’ – Can you see that there is still the belief that there is a ‘me’ that can be hypnotized by emotions and thoughts?”
N: I was just using common ways of speaking in this phrase. I didn’t imply that I believe that there was a ‘me’ who could be hypnotized.
Naya, you believe that you can be hypnotized by thoughts. Please don’t intellectualize that there is no me so it’s just a speaking phrase. Since you still believe that there is a you to whom thoughts happen to. And you are sometimes hypnotized by thoughts other times you are not. It’s very important that you are 100% honest with yourself, and you don’t just talk yourself into believing that there is no me, so it was just a figurative speaking. You are fooling yourself.
When I search for this self that wants more peace I see first and foremost visual images of the past of this body engaged in spiritual inquiry for many many years (reading books, attending talks, watching youtube videos, etc).
There is also this strong sensation in the head and the chest that could be labeled as a longing.
There are also thoughts arising expressing a sense of frustration about ‘me’ not getting it and about this search taking so long.
But this is just half looking, or an unfinished looking. The most important part of it is missing. Looking for the self itself.

So there is a visual thought coming up showing the body.
Is this visual thought the self?
Or the self is in this visual thought?
Or the self is thinking this visual thought?
Or the self is seeing this visual thought?
Where is the ‘I’ regarding to this visual thought?


And is the sensation in the chest and head which is labelled as ‘longing’ the self itself?
Or the self is inside this sensation?
Or the ‘I’ is feeling this sensation?
Or the ‘I’ is the one who is longing?
How does this sensation relate to the self?

And what about the thoughts about “I am frustrated”? Is this thought the ‘I’?
Or the ‘I’ is inside this thought?
Or the ‘I’ is thinking this thought?
Or the ‘me’ is perceiving this thought?
How does this thought relate to the self?
There are also thoughts arising expressing a sense of frustration about ‘me’ not getting it and about this search taking so long.
Can you REALLY SEE that these are just thoughts arising and there is no ‘me’ outside of these thoughts being affected by these thoughts, OR does it FEEL that these are YOUR thoughts and YOUR frustration?

Please be honest with yourself.

Vivien
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 Oct 15, 2019 6:32 pm

Sounds good, Vivien. I will come back to you tomorrow.

Naya


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