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

Postby NayaCardena » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:10 pm

Dear Vivien,
“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?”
I don’t want to say that the body is the 'agency' because I can see that decisions are not made by this body, that it’s a conditioned entity that’s acting out of habit or responding to thoughts arising on their own. Right now, I can also see that the body is felt. I can see that the sensation in my chest which I used to believe was ‘me’ is in reality nothing but a sensation.

On the other hand, I do not yet recognize the illusion that perceptions (seeing, tasting, hearing, sensing) are not felt by this body. It’s hard to get the intuition that the body is not the seer or the hearer because hearing and seeing cannot happen without the seeing and hearing apparatus which are part of the body. Or is it enough to realize that seeing does indeed happen through the eyes, or that hearing does happen through the ears but that the body itself is not the one that knows sound or images…that images and sound are known by the same “entity” that knows the body. Because if the body is just a sensation, then it knows nothing.

“What is the experiential evidence that the body is the agency of performing the act of ‘perceiving’, ‘seeing’, ‘hearing’, ‘tasting’, ‘thinking’?”
Just to be clear on definitions, when you say that “the body is the agency of performing the action of…” you mean that the body is the one that experiences sound, smell…
It’s easiest to realize that there is no experience of the body perceiving thoughts. Based on my previous observations, I can also say that seeing, hearing, and tasting happen with the body (e.g. the seeing apparatus is associated with the body) but that the body is not the one that knows perceptions since it’s just a sensation.
There is still the puzzle that thoughts, visual images and other perceptions are only perceived where this body is. They seem to be attached to this body, but this does not undermine the previous observations.


“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.”
Yes, I will be careful. I should probably spend more time looking for the self outside of the moments when I write to you for this understanding to become more experiential and less intellectual. But then I get carried away by life and quickly forget that I am not this body or that I am not the thinker.

On a side note, I am sometimes confused about the idea that there is ‘no self’ because the ‘self’ and ‘me’ can refer to either the soul/an individual consciousness inside the body - whose existence I wasn’t able prove – but it can also refer to a real entity – the body called Naya. But even if Naya is the body, it is not the body that is getting ‘hypnotized’ by thoughts. The process of being ‘hypnotized’ or ‘lost in thoughts’ is itself being noticed just like the body is being noticed.


Naya “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.”
Vivien : “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?”
No. It’s only a visual thought that is perceived. A thought shows up says “I the body, sees that thought.” When looking, it can be seen that there is no experience of a limited entity perceiving that thought.

“Or the self is in this visual thought?”
It seems that there was a body who decided to read these books or watch videos. But it can be seen now that the body doesn’t decide anything and that it just responds to thoughts appearing spontaneously.

“Or the self is thinking this visual thought?”
There is the experience of thinking visual thoughts in response to reading the question “where is the self in search for peace”. However, the one who is thinking cannot be found. These visual thoughts appear spontaneously. There is no explanation for why one specific visual thought appeared (e.g. Naya reading ‘The Power of Now”) and another one.


“Or the self is seeing this visual thought?”
The illusion that “I am seeing this visual thought” is very strong. The current experience, however, doesn’t suggest that there is a finite entity that’s observing these visual thoughts. Bodily sensations, which are often mistaken for an “I”, are perceived just like these visual thoughts are perceived. There is no experience of bodily sensations perceiving these thoughts.


“Where is the ‘I’ regarding to this visual thought?”
“I” always brings ‘me’ back to the body. When looking, it is seen that “I see these thoughts” is another thought and that there is no experience of sensations seeing thoughts.


“And is the sensation in the chest and head which is labelled as ‘longing’ the self itself?”
No. It is a bodily sensation which is mistakenly perceived as ‘me’ out of habit.

“Or the self inside this sensation?”
There is no evidence for this. Only a sensation can be felt at this location.


“Or the ‘I’ is feeling this sensation?”
No. Although this sensation is felt, no limited entity is experienced feeling this it.
This idea that sensations are felt by no one hasn’t sunk in yet…it still feels counter-intuitive.


“Or the ‘I’ is the one who is longing?”
This is only an illusion, although it is very strong. When looking, this ‘longing’ can be recognized as an ‘uncomfortable’ sensation.


“How does this sensation relate to the self?”
This sensation is nothing but a sensation. It is mistaken as the self because when it is felt, a thought arise saying things like “I feel a longing”.


“And what about the thoughts about “I am frustrated”? Is this thought the ‘I’?”
At first, it seems that it’s the body that’s frustrated. When looking, it is seen that the body is a sensation that’s not emitting thoughts. The thought “I am frustrated” is just a thought that’s perceived just like bodily sensations are perceived.


“Or the ‘I’ is inside this thought?”
No. It’s clear that the ‘I’ is not inside the thought. The illusion comes from the fact that:
1) The body is mistaken for the feeler (and not the one that is felt) AND;
2) The body is mistaken for the one that’s doing the thinking.

“Or the ‘I’ is thinking this thought?”
The illusion that the body (ie. the “I”) does the thinking goes on most of the time, that’s for sure. Experience, however, does not suggest such a thing. The body is perceived, just like thoughts are perceived.

“Or the ‘me’ is perceiving this thought?”
Although thoughts are perceived, there is no limited entity that can be found perceiving these thoughts.

How does this thought relate to the self?
The though “I am frustrated” just create the illusion that this so-called “frustration” is experienced by someone or something, for instance by the body. However, although “frustration” does arise, there is not experience of this emotion being felt by the body.

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?
This illusion that Naya, the body, is not the one experiencing the thought can be seen. Both bodily sensations and thoughts about an “I” are perceived. At the same time, the thoughts “I am this body” and “I feel this frustration” still feel true.

Naya

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

Postby Vivien » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:14 am

Dear Naya,
I should probably spend more time looking for the self outside of the moments when I write to you for this understanding to become more experiential and less intellectual.
Please tell me, how often do you look in a day? Once before replying? Or only when you reply?
Do you look with EVERY SINGLE question, or just with a few, and sometimes you just reply from memory?
And how many times do you look in your daily life? Once a day? Twice? 5 times? 20 times? 100 times a day>
And how much time you spend with looking in one session? A minute? 5 minutes? More? Less?
And how much time do you spend it total with looking in a day? 5 minutes? 10? 30 minutes? 2 hours? 5 hours a day?


Please reply to the above questions one-by-one.
This illusion that Naya, the body, is not the one experiencing the thought can be seen. Both bodily sensations and thoughts about an “I” are perceived. At the same time, the thoughts “I am this body” and “I feel this frustration” still feel true.
OK. It’s important to look into this.
Please repeat the sentence a few times “I am this body” – and pay close attention to the FEELING that it’s true.

How does the ‘feeling it’s true’ felt?
How true-ness (of the sentence) is felt?
What kind of feeling is it?


Please describe the feeling as precisely as you can without concepts, speculation, logical conclusion, imagination. Just write about the pure feeling of the sentence being true.

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

Postby NayaCardena » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:37 am

Thanks, Vivien. I will get back to you tomorrow.
Naya

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

Postby NayaCardena » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:44 am

Dear Vivien,
Naya : I should probably spend more time looking for the self outside of the moments when I write to you for this understanding to become more experiential and less intellectual.
1) Please tell me, how often do you look in a day? Once before replying? Or only when you reply?
2) 2) Do you look with EVERY SINGLE question, or just with a few, and sometimes you just reply from memory?
3) 3) And how many times do you look in your daily life? Once a day? Twice? 5 times? 20 times? 100 times a day.
4) 4) And how much time you spend with looking in one session? A minute? 5 minutes? More? Less?
5) 5) And how much time do you spend in total with looking in a day? 5 minutes? 10? 30 minutes? 2 hours? 5 hours a day?
Not sure I can fit my spiritual ‘work’ habits into this framework as there is so much day-to-day variation. These are the typical case scenarios.

1) I use my writing on the LU forum as a time for mediation/contemplation. I take time with each of your question and do not answer by memory. I also read past exchanges we have had and write points where I am still unclear. This can take 1 to 2 hours/day. Given my schedule, working in time blocks is more convenient and realistic.
2) When you ask me to do an exercise multiple times a day, I write down your questions, repeat the exercise several times ( 6 to 10 times for about 15 min per session) and report back in the evening. Let’s speculate that it also adds up to 1 to 2 hours a day.
3) Sometimes I become obsessed about a question and I think about it constantly for several days in a row (even when I am walking or in the evening when I am done with work). I take notes in the evening about what I know for sure and areas that are still unclear. Lately, for instance, I have been thinking (and looking) a lot about whether the body is the experiencer and how this idea conflicts with the fact that there is no separate self. I think I have finally come to a satisfactory understanding of this ‘problem’.
4) Rarely, “I” am too absorbed by the drama in “my” life (lost in thoughts happens most of the day and those thoughts seem to be real) or too tired to do this inquiry justice. In those days, I am not spending any time on it.


Naya : This illusion that Naya, the body, is not the one experiencing the thought can be seen. Both bodily sensations and thoughts about an “I” are perceived. At the same time, the thoughts “I am this body” and “I feel this frustration” still feel true.
OK. It’s important to look into this.
Please repeat the sentence a few times “I am this body” – and pay close attention to the FEELING that it’s true.
“How does the ‘feeling it’s true’ felt?”
When I say “I am this body” the focus of attention is on bodily sensations. It feels that there is a ‘tension’ or a ‘contraction’ at the level of the body.

“How true-ness (of the sentence) is felt?”
The sensation itself does not indicate that “I” am the body. It is only thoughts which claim that ‘I’ am the body.
The first thought that comes to mind when I say these words is “because I feel it”. But then, this begs the question, “what is it that is feeling the body?” When looking “I” cannot find a limited entity that is observing the body.

“What kind of feeling is it?”
When I say “I am the body” I feel both bodily sensations and I also see visual images of the body. The visual images suggest that there is a container which delimit these sensations. I describe these bodily sensations as a contraction, but in truth, any adjective I would use to describe them is arbitrary.

Naya

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

Postby Vivien » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:27 am

Dear Naya,

Thank you for your detailed explanation how and how often you look. I can see that you are really trying :)
I have been thinking (and looking) a lot about whether the body is the experiencer and how this idea conflicts with the fact that there is no separate self. I think I have finally come to a satisfactory understanding of this ‘problem’.
Can you say a bit more about this satisfactory understanding of the body not being the experiencer?
Is this satisfactory answer came from thinking or from experience?
V: “How does the ‘feeling it’s true’ felt?”
N: When I say “I am this body” the focus of attention is on bodily sensations. It feels that there is a ‘tension’ or a ‘contraction’ at the level of the body.
But does this contraction or tension is the PROOF that ‘I am the body’?
What is the evidential proof (that body = I) ?
But then, this begs the question, “what is it that is feeling the body?” When looking “I” cannot find a limited entity that is observing the body.
You cannot find a limited entity that is observing the body, but you still believe so, right?
When I say “I am the body” I feel both bodily sensations and I also see visual images of the body. The visual images suggest that there is a container which delimit these sensations. I describe these bodily sensations as a contraction, but in truth, any adjective I would use to describe them is arbitrary.
“When I say “I am the body” I feel both bodily sensations and I also see visual images of the body.”
– WHERE is this YOU who FEELS the sensation and SEES the visual images?

WHO FEELS them?
And HOW SEES them?

Does the ‘visual image’ itself suggest in any way that the sensations are contained in that image?
If not, what is suggesting so?

Does the ‘visual image’ itself suggest in any way that the body is a container?
If not, what is suggesting so?

Does the ‘visual image’ itself suggest in any way that “it’s the image of the body”?
If not, what is suggesting so?

Does the ‘visual image’ itself convey ANY meaning or characteristics of whatsoever (other than being a visual image)?
If not, what is suggesting so?

And what is a ‘visual image’ (of a body) exactly?


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 20, 2019 4:27 am

Dear Vivien,
“Can you say a bit more about this satisfactory understanding of the body not being the experiencer? Is this satisfactory answer came from thinking or from experience?”
I was clear about the fact that there is no decision maker inside the body, even though on a day to day basis it looks like “I” am making decisions. Still I could not grasp the fact that the body was not the entity experiencing life because the feeling, seeing, hearing and tasting apparatus are part of the body. It felt like experience was looked at from the perspective of the body and that looking at my direct experience didn’t help me understand why that was not the case. For instance I could not grasp the fact that the eyes as a sensation were not doing the looking.

Both intellectual reasoning and looking at experience where necessary to have some clarity. First understanding that a body that’s doing the seeing, tasting, and sensing – even one that has no free will – still means that there a separate entity prior to experience. Re-reading past exchanges we’ve had and articles online also helped. Since you’ve mentioned that even according to science, eyes are not doing the looking, I have quickly skimmed articles about how seeing happens. (I know it sounds foolish but I thought the eyes were more like window and that whatever was happening outside was directly projected inside the body…) I also clarified the misperception that I had that I should see that seeing or hearing did not happen through the body. It became clear that the body is the instrument of perception but that it’s not the knower of perceptions because it’s only a sensation. The comparison of the eyes with a camera was helpful to see the eyes as nothing more than an instrument. I also got the intuition that the ‘entity’ that knew the body was the same that was hearing and looking. It was all one ‘knowing process’ that was happening through different senses. I am not implying that there is an invisible entity that’s experiencing but I don’t know any other way to put it. We’ve discuss these things several times before but I was still confused. It was not until I wrote to you a couple of days ago that all the pieces of the puzzle finally came together.

V: “How does the ‘feeling it’s true’ felt?”
N: When I say “I am this body” the focus of attention is on bodily sensations. It feels that there is a ‘tension’ or a ‘contraction’ at the level of the body.
“But does this contraction or tension is the PROOF that ‘I am the body’?”
The contraction itself is a bodily sensation that is known. Nothing suggests that this sensation = my identity.

“What is the evidential proof (that body = I) ?”
Most of the time, the illusion that “I” am inside the body, and that “I” am thinking and making decisions goes on. However, experience suggests that the thinking process happens independently from bodily sensations. Both thinking and bodily sensations are felt. Bodily sensations do not do the thinking. “I” is a thought that comes up repeatedly to refer to both the body and the thinker but it cannot be found in experience.
N: But then, this begs the question, “what is it that is feeling the body?” When looking “I” cannot find a limited entity that is observing the body.
“You cannot find a limited entity that is observing the body, but you still believe so, right?”
The first thoughts that come up are “I” am looking at the body and “I am in the center of my body”. This sense of “I am” still rings true even if the above statements conflict with one another (I cannot be the one that’s observing bodily sensations and at the same time be part of these bodily sensations), and even if I don’t find anybody behind bodily sensations.

N: When I say “I am the body” I feel both bodily sensations and I also see visual images of the body. The visual images suggest that there is a container which delimit these sensations. I describe these bodily sensations as a contraction, but in truth, any adjective I would use to describe them is arbitrary.
“When I say “I am the body” I feel both bodily sensations and I also see visual images of the body.”
V: “WHERE is this YOU who FEELS the sensation and SEES the visual images?”
There is no limited entity that can be perceived observing bodily sensations and visual images.

“WHO FEELS them?”
Bodily sensations are not felt by a limited entity.

And HOW SEES them?
Visual images of the body are not seen by a limited entity.


I am struggling to answer the following questions. Do you mind explaining their purpose and implication? How does, for instance, the fact that the visual image of a body does or does not suggest that the body is a container relate to the thought “I am the body”.
Does the ‘visual image’ itself suggest in any way that the sensations are contained in that image?
If not, what is suggesting so?
Does the ‘visual image’ itself suggest in any way that the body is a container?
If not, what is suggesting so?
Does the ‘visual image’ itself suggest in any way that “it’s the image of the body”?
If not, what is suggesting so?
Does the ‘visual image’ itself convey ANY meaning or characteristics of whatsoever (other than being a visual image)?
If not, what is suggesting so?
And what is a ‘visual image’ (of a body) exactly?
Naya

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

Postby Vivien » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:06 am

Dear Naya,
Most of the time, the illusion that “I” am inside the body, and that “I” am thinking and making decisions goes on.
It would be very good, if you could incorporate very short (10-30 seconds of) looking into your daily life. Let’s say you are making a dinner, and suddenly you realize that you feel that “I am the one making it”. In that moment, immediately look for the ‘I’ that is making the dinner. Or you can feel that “I am the one who is making decision what foods to buy” – so on that spot do a short, quick looking for the decider. Or it feels that “I am thinking about what happened at work yesterday” – so stop for 10 seconds, and just look for the thinker.

This kind of quick, short and very frequent looking could help a lot.
Let me know how it goes.
I am struggling to answer the following questions. Do you mind explaining their purpose and implication? How does, for instance, the fact that the visual image of a body does or does not suggest that the body is a container relate to the thought “I am the body”.
Because these ‘visual images’ are giving the impression that ‘I am indeed the body”.
It’s very important see these for what they are.
This is an important stumbling block to see through. These ‘images’ heavily contributing to the illusion.

So let’s go through them one-by-one.

First, let’s investigate what a ‘visual image’ is actually is.

What is a ‘visual image’ exactly?
What is it made of?


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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