To be or not

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50kjerry
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To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:28 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand (but am not yet deeply convinced) that this body and mind is not a separate and individual entity and is not in control of life. I understand that you may help me to see the reality through your questioning and my searching deep inside for truthful answers.

What are you looking for at LU?
To experience the truth is what I want most. You have cautioned not to expect much from this process so I will take that to heart. Hopefully some good will come out of this effort although it's not really clear what that may be, maybe just a different way to accept what is. I am 57 and have lived an extremely self centered life. I understand how that has created much suffering for me and others. If seeing the self does not exist can allow me and those around me to experience life with less of a burden that would be great.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I don't have expectations but it would be nice if my guide can work with a very stubborn, powerful, and tricky ego that doesn't want to give up it's territory without a fight. I get the feeling this won't be easy. I want to see this this through to conclusion but have doubts of my ability to overcome the obstacles.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I wasn't interested in spiritual practices until a couple years ago when I hit rock bottom. I went to see a psychologist who recommended the Headspace meditation app. I tried that which lead me to studying Buddhism (still fond of but no longer studying) and then working with psychedelics(still do). It has been a slow and gradual process of awakening for me which began to pick up after reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle a few months ago. I no longer see the need to meditate and now focus on becoming aware of present moments throughout the day and recognizing thought for what it really is. People have noticed changes as I have become happier, more calm and focused and relate to people better. I feel more like a normal human which was the goal prior to therapy although now I realize normal is insanity as Tolle says. I have read the books "Gateless Gatecrashers" and "Liberation Unleashed". Seeking and inquiry while reading those books has only led to roadblocks as the mind uses logic to dispute answers or creates conditions to end the seeking. I soon feel helpless in the search yet something tells me to continue it.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
10

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:50 am

Hello,

If you are still looking for a guide I will be happy to guide you? What shall I call you? A few bits and pieces in case you haven't looked at these:

At LU we are described as guides - not teachers - as our role is to directly point to what IS, through the use of exercises and questions. Your role is to LOOK carefully to what is being pointed at. It is this simple LOOKING (not thinking) that brings the realisation that there is no separate self and never has been. This is an experiential based guiding and is not a discussion or a debate.

This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have.

Before we begin, here are links to information I would like you to read please.
Disclaimer:-
http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Terms & Conditions:
https://www.liberationunleashed.com/register/terms/

“Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU.
http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

A few ground rules:
1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. This exploration is based on Actual (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, color and thoughts - only. Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process. There is no ‘self’ to improve.
4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
5. Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

A few technical support:

- You can reply to this thread by pushing the 'Post Reply" button at the left bottom of this page.
- You can learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

Technology is not perfect and sometimes there is a glitch which can wipe out your responses. It is advisable that you copy and paste questions asked into Word, answer them there and then copy and paste them to your thread. Always save a copy of what you have done, it will save time in the long run.


If you are happy to agree to the above and have me your guide, we can start the process.
To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration (for example, what life will look and feel like and what you want/hope will change or not change). Could you please answer the following questions:

How will Life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?

Throughout this exploration I would like you to answer ALL questions that I have written in blue text. Please answer questions INDIVIDUALLY, remembering to use the Quote function to highlight the question being answered.

Best wishes,

Nic

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:45 pm

Hi, sorry I realised the link to the quote function video is not working - this video will show you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ[/

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50kjerry
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Re: To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:58 pm

Hi Nic. Thank you for offering to help. You may call me Jerry. Due to work challenges available time is limited on Tuesdays and I may find it difficult to reply on Wednesdays. Is that ok?
How will Life change?
Life will still be challenging but maybe those challenges can be met with a clearer understanding or maybe no understanding will be needed.
How will you change?
Knowing there is no self to control life I can imagine being less concerned about the future, living with less stress and worry. A quieter mind.
What will be different?
Mostly the way I look at things or if I may fantasize for a moment not even bothering to look instead just basking in awareness maybe. Don't really know what to expect, but I'm taking a leap of faith that this won't be a bad thing.
What is missing?
Sorry, I don't understand the question. Missing from what? If you mean missing from my current life I would say a feeling of true peace and security but also kinda understand somewhat that in reality nothing is missing from life because it just is what it is.
I hope I answered your questions properly.

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:13 pm

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your answers, it seems to me like your expectations are grounded and shouldn't cause us too many problems!
I understand (but am not yet deeply convinced) that this body and mind is not a separate and individual entity and is not in control of life
This is good, and it is good to see that there is a difference between intellectual understanding, and the experiential seeing which will hopefully deeply convince you. We are so conditioned to live in a mental world, so it seems natural to think we need to understand more or learn more, but what we need to do is shift the focus from thinking to direct experience.
It is a little like sitting in a room wondering about the weather - you can look at forecasts online or on the tv, find and read reports, or you can simply open the curtains and look :)

In this guiding we will be trying to find out what is preventing clear seeing of the absence of separate selfhood. To do this, we will try exercises and questions which will help you to see clearly and help us to identify the blocks. Even if they seem quite basic or obvious, it is worth giving some time to really look into what is being asked as they might just lead to an insight.

Try this exercise:

Sit quietly and relax, take your time just looking at what is in front of you for awhile.
Observe how the mind is dividing and labelling every thing into objects and is embellishing them with stories about what they are.

Give it some time

Then, stop watching the objects as labelled objects. Just look at the seeing itself. Observe the pure process of seeing. This is direct experience (DE).

Please write a little about how this went, in your experience.

Seeking and inquiry while reading those books has only led to roadblocks as the mind uses logic to dispute answers or creates conditions to end the seeking. I soon feel helpless in the search yet something tells me to continue it.
Yes exactly, the mind seems to throw up all kinds of things to prevent the seeing, as if there is something to lose. It may seem threatening, but there was never a self there, so nothing is lost except an illusion.

If I was to say to you right now, there is no self at all, what comes up?
How do you experience there to be a self at the moment?


Don't worry if now and then it takes a little longer than a day to get back to me, it sounds like we are both busy. I am quite relaxed, and at the same time it is good to keep up momentum and make the enquiry a priority - something you are looking into regularly.

Best wishes,

Nic

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50kjerry
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Re: To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:37 am

Hi Nic,
Please write a little about how this went, in your experience.
Looking in front of me I am seeing the usual things in a home office. I noticed the mind attaching meaning to things such as: cancelled checks from customers = money.
Then the mind wandered off into something other than what it was supposed to be doing. After bringing it back I noticed how imperfect things around me are and then how imperfect I am (messy office) and then on to other work related things that need to be done.
After moving on to the next part of the exercise I start to question my understanding of what it is I should be doing wondering if I am following your intended request of just seeing. I think I have been doing a lot of momentary "seeing" lately and sometimes find it quite easy just by looking up at the sky without thinking. I just haven't tried it in other situations such as this and found it a little more difficult and unsure if I was doing it correctly.
If I was to say to you right now, there is no self at all, what comes up?

If there is no self than why am I hearing a noisy neighbor? - Ha! This is the first thought that came to mind and before getting it all typed gave me a good chuckle because it seems like such a silly defensive thought. I thought I knew better. But if there's no I then who thought who knew better? Good grief! Help! feelings of confusion.
How do you experience there to be a self at the moment?
In my experience something is definitely here controlling thoughts and behavior because I need it to. I feel like I need it to be whole although I can't really explain why.

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:04 pm

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the speedy response, I hadn't remembered to tick the box that notifies me of a reply but I have now!
If there is no self than why am I hearing a noisy neighbor? - Ha! This is the first thought that came to mind and before getting it all typed gave me a good chuckle because it seems like such a silly defensive thought. I thought I knew better. But if there's no I then who thought who knew better? Good grief! Help! feelings of confusion.
Let's look at this first, and don't worry, this is looking, witnessing the mechanism of thought, and finding where the self is assumed, which is exactly what we need to do. From your responses it is clear that in the perception you are positing a perceiver, which is normal since that is how we are taught it all works.

Anyway, hearing is a great way in, as hearing and sound can be examined with the eyes closed. So there is hearing, sound, and thoughts about this situation!

Find somewhere quiet to sit. Rest for a moment and listen to the sounds in the room where you are, or sounds from outside. Whatever it is, I'll just refer to it as 'what can be heard'.

1) In 'hearing' can anything be found other than 'what can be heard'?
2) Can what is doing the hearing be found? Or is there only 'what can be heard'?
3) An 'I'? a 'body'? a 'person'? a brain? a pair of ears? Can these be found doing the hearing? Or is there just 'what can be heard'?
What do you find?

Can an INHERENT HEARER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the hearer, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?

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50kjerry
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Re: To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:25 pm

Hi Nic,
1) In 'hearing' can anything be found other than 'what can be heard'?
No.
2) Can what is doing the hearing be found? Or is there only 'what can be heard'?
No... although the mind says there is a physical body and brain that does that.
3) An 'I'? a 'body'? a 'person'? a brain? a pair of ears? Can these be found doing the hearing? Or is there just 'what can be heard'?
What do you find?
No and Yes. The I, body, person, brain, ears cannot be found when attention is focused on hearing. But then the thought comes: Besides the faith that those things do exist they can be found in a mirror and the many scientific documentaries on television that explain how that stuff works. Sorry, how can I overlook the physical?
Can an INHERENT HEARER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the hearer, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?
No, an inherent hearer cannot be found. Not sure I understand the last question. Maybe I'm just on the fence trying to but not able to decide whether the hearer is physical/biological or not. Trying to answer the question is very frustrating because of the confusion.


Thank you for your patience.

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:25 pm

Hi Jerry,

Gosh you are answering quickly, I appreciate the enthusiasm and will try to keep up! I have a crazy schedule at the moment but will do my best.

2) Can what is doing the hearing be found? Or is there only 'what can be heard'?
No... although the mind says there is a physical body and brain that does that.

Yes it might say that, but the exercises are designed to help you to look beyond what the mind is saying and truly be able to look into direct experience. In this looking, yes there may be 'factual' knowledge about the physical elements of ears and brains, yet what I need you to do is place that to the side and look at what you can find directly - i.e unmediated by thought and what thought knows.

But then the thought comes: Besides the faith that those things do exist they can be found in a mirror and the many scientific documentaries on television that explain how that stuff works. Sorry, how can I overlook the physical?

Yes the same applies. It may be that things work in that way according to science, and as a guide I am not challenging that or telling you it works differently. All I am trying to do is to get you to really immerse into direct experience, and 'see' how much we construct in the perceptual situation, see what we assume and add, especially of course the perceiver or the self. The self only exists as a thought, and cannot be found by looking.

Maybe I'm just on the fence trying to but not able to decide whether the hearer is physical/biological or not. Trying to answer the question is very frustrating because of the confusion.

Yes this will be confusing - there is an experiential reality and a known or assumed or constructed reality. For now, I would simply put aside these thoughts, the desire to understand or know, or think clearly, we are trying to go beyond thought and what is constructed by thought..

Perhaps it would be good to try this again, and really look at what is happening - and what is happening when thought comes in and tries to decide on the nature of the hearer, and reify the hearer. Lets just look for the hearer, and try to see what is direct looking and what is thought thinking?



Also, perhaps this will help to show you the differences between the two:

Have a look at an apple. If you have a ‘real’ apple, you can use it for this exercise.

http://www.maryshomestead.com/sitebuild ... /fruit.gif

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?

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50kjerry
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Re: To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:04 am

Have a look at an apple. If you have a ‘real’ apple, you can use it for this exercise.
What is known for sure?
Known for sure is this is a picture of an apple. I know this because of memories of prior experience with apples.
Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?
There is only color and shape that somehow retrieves a memory(thought) of past experiences with apples. The apple itself is an object not an actual direct experience.
Perhaps it would be good to try this again, and really look at what is happening - and what is happening when thought comes in and tries to decide on the nature of the hearer, and reify the hearer. Lets just look for the hearer, and try to see what is direct looking and what is thought thinking?
I'll have to finish this later as I am too tired to focus. My long work days are Tues-Thurs. Today was more difficult than usual. Thanks again.

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:18 pm

Hi Jerry,

No worries, yes it sounds like a good idea to try these things when you aren't tired!

Hope you get some good rest :)

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50kjerry
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Re: To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:46 am

Hi Nic, I'm back and ready to work this out whenever you have the time.
This time I will put a focus on looking.
Find somewhere quiet to sit. Rest for a moment and listen to the sounds in the room where you are, or sounds from outside. Whatever it is, I'll just refer to it as 'what can be heard'.
1) In 'hearing' can anything be found other than 'what can be heard'?
No. there is nothing else in the hearing only experience.
2) Can what is doing the hearing be found? Or is there only 'what can be heard'?
No. Nothing doing the hearing. The thought arises that maybe there is but I'm just not able to see it. I then dismiss the thought since it is just a thought.
3) An 'I'? a 'body'? a 'person'? a brain? a pair of ears? Can these be found doing the hearing? Or is there just 'what can be heard'?
What do you find?
I cannot find and I, person, brain, or ears doing the hearing. I had a little trouble this time because while hearing the music it I could also feel the vibrations in the body.
Can an INHERENT HEARER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the hearer, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?
I cannot find an inherent hearer. I want to answer "no" to the second question but can't honestly do so. It is an I don't know because I don't know what I don't know. How do I know something doesn't exist if it cannot be seen?

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:24 am

Hi Jerry,

Nice looking!
No. Nothing doing the hearing. The thought arises that maybe there is but I'm just not able to see it. I then dismiss the thought since it is just a thought.
Yes, this is the kind of looking which will help you see through.
I cannot find an inherent hearer. I want to answer "no" to the second question but can't honestly do so. It is an I don't know because I don't know what I don't know. How do I know something doesn't exist if it cannot be seen?
Honest looking, thank you - and here is one of the ways the mind will distract us, through doubts and questioning of what is clear. You saw it, maybe still see it, then there is a reaction! Don't worry about the doubt, lets stick with the direct looking - so an inherent hearer cannot be found when you look for it. Is this clear for you?
If it is, and it can't be found, then where can it be found - this hearer?


I cannot find and I, person, brain, or ears doing the hearing. I had a little trouble this time because while hearing the music it I could also feel the vibrations in the body.
Yes, that is fine, so if we move to the vibrations in the body we can apply the same looking. Is there a feeler of the vibrations in the body?

Can thought experience these vibrations or sounds? Can thought experience thought? Can thought experience anything? Thought is so overrated by thought!!


Since you are up for some looking right now lets also try this exercise which is to do with sensations and the feeler of sensations:

Please close your eyes for this exercise, just notice any ‘mental’ images or thoughts that appear and put them aside.
Place a hand on a desk or table (flat surface) - Close your eyes.
Now 'go to' the feeling/sensation which we would normally refer to as 'hand on desk' and answer from what you can FIND.

1) How many things do you find? Are there two things (hand and desk) or is there one thing – sensation?
2) Can a ‘feeler’ be found in 'what is being felt'?
3) Do you notice 'one thing feeling another thing'? Or is there just 'a sensation'?
4) Do you find an 'I', a body, a hand 'feeling' . . . or is there just 'a sensation'? What do you find?

Can an INHERENT FEELER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the feeler, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?

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50kjerry
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Re: To be or not

Postby 50kjerry » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:57 pm

Good morning.
Is this clear for you?
If it is, and it can't be found, then where can it be found - this hearer?
I cannot find an inherent hearer. I don't know where it can be found. I do not know where to look or how to look for it. I feel trapped in a room preventing me from seeing or finding a hearer. The feeling is almost claustrophobic. Let me out!
Is there a feeler of the vibrations in the body?
Thanks for that question. I cannot find a feeler of the vibrations.
Can thought experience these vibrations or sounds? Can thought experience thought? Can thought experience anything?
A thought which is just another sense perception cannot experience another sense perception, itself, or anything else. A thought just occurred that thoughts are not real. Wow, where did that come from? More confusion.
1) How many things do you find? Are there two things (hand and desk) or is there one thing – sensation?
There is just the one sensation, a vibration. It was only thought that tried to insert and differentiate the hand and desk
.
2) Can a ‘feeler’ be found in 'what is being felt'?
I am having difficulty separating the feeler from the body. Repeated the exercise and noted that the while the feeling is sensed by the body it stays in the body so maybe there is no 'feeler', just can't be sure.
3) Do you notice 'one thing feeling another thing'? Or is there just 'a sensation'?
Initially I thought I did but realized the mind was trying hard to do that so I dismissed it then it tried again by suggesting the pressure which could be felt was different from the vibrational feeling but again realized that was just thought.
4) Do you find an 'I', a body, a hand 'feeling' . . . or is there just 'a sensation'? What do you find?
When feeling the sensation I cannot find an "I". When feeling the sensation ONLY I cannot find a body or hand. The sensation only leads to thoughts of their presence.
Can an INHERENT FEELER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the feeler, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?
I kept associated the feeling with the body so repeated the exercise several times then for a brief second saw that there is nowhere else for the feeling to go. It is dead. I was still having trouble answering the second question when the thought occurred that "only through thinking could the answer not be a no therefore the answer has to be no". Was this a good thought? Already the understanding of this insight is fading and once again left in state of confusion.

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Skygazer74
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Re: To be or not

Postby Skygazer74 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:46 am

Hi Jerry,

Good morning! It is here now anyway, where are you in the world?
I cannot find an inherent hearer. I don't know where it can be found. I do not know where to look or how to look for it. I feel trapped in a room preventing me from seeing or finding a hearer. The feeling is almost claustrophobic. Let me out!

Just checking – how are you feeling now? Some of the ways we experience a self, as the perceiver, owner or manager of experience, just need to be seen through. Not finding a hearer is a good thing, it is a step towards liberation. If you are finding the looking unsettling please feel free to take a break or do some loving kindness meditation to give you a more positive state from which to look?
It seems you looked and couldn’t find a hearer, then felt trapped preventing you from finding the hearer? Is this simply doubtful thoughts or are you experiencing fear and claustrophobia?
If so, we can look into this fear, and see that it is thought. We will look into thought now to help with this.

I am having difficulty separating the feeler from the body. Repeated the exercise and noted that the while the feeling is sensed by the body it stays in the body so maybe there is no 'feeler', just can't be sure.

Ok, so there is sensation in the body, this is known directly. What we are looking at is the sense that the sensation is felt by ME or I. The reason you can’t separate the feeler from the body is that the feeler isn’t there. Could you please look again, even a few more times, until there is certainty about this?

When feeling the sensation I cannot find an "I". When feeling the sensation ONLY I cannot find a body or hand. The sensation only leads to thoughts of their presence.

No, it is interesting isn’t it – it begins to suggest how much we add or construct experience. It also suggests that when we look into DE, reality starts to become less fixed, less sure, and this begins to help unravel the assumptions and illusions.

"only through thinking could the answer not be a no therefore the answer has to be no". Was this a good thought? Already the understanding of this insight is fading and once again left in state of confusion.

Yes, only in thought is there a self, an entity feeling sensations. You see this, and then fall into doubt or confusion. This is ok, unless it feels upsetting, in which case I would try pendulating; gently moving in and out of the looking. You are having glimpses of the absence of this entity but it needs to be crystal clear so that no doubts are left.
If you can, and it is not too uncomfortable try to keep looking into this with all of the senses, during your days, especially when you are feeling positive and happy. Just look into the sights, sounds, sensations, smells, tastes, and let it become a habit to look for the senser. Please do this and let me know what happens?

Also, when thoughts of confusion arise, or thoughts of fear, look at these thoughts. What is there to fear? This looking is not to destroy, threaten or lose anything - the self was never there, so all that is happening is an illusion is falling away, through looking, and seeing that what we thought was there is not.


Here is a thought exercise. Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts. Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear without you doing anything at all.

Where are they coming from and going to?
Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
Can you predict your next thought?
Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?
Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?

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


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