Feel like I'm close but need a push

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Ainonia
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Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:35 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand this to mean that the concept of 'I' or 'me' is just a narrative strung together by transient thoughts.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for the push I need to transform my understanding of no self from an intellectual concept into one based in real, direct knowledge. If successful, I would like to help others attain this realisation.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to gain clear, honest and insightful advice that will assist me to recognise the illusory nature of a separate self. I also expect that the person guiding me will be someone who has gained this insight and will be able to adapt their responses to my current level of attachment to the notion of the separate self.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Many years of interest in hermeticism and gnosticism have gradually led me to non-dual philosophies such as Kashmir Shaivism. This progression led me to a more honest place, where I can see the truth in the non-existence of a separate self but am still failing to experience it.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

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Vivien
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:29 am

Hi,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. My name is Vivien and I'd be happy to assist you in your inquiry.

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. We can have a conversation and see where it takes you.
The purpose of which would be for there to be a realisation, more than just intellectually, that there never was and never will be a separate self, as, such. All our efforts will focus on that.

I will tend to ask many questions. That's my job here. These, will be pointers towards no self. It will be for you to examine your experience to find out what's true or not.

I would like to ask you to write only from your experience as you see it, what feels true, with whole honesty.
And also post daily. If you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
Can we agree on these?

Tell me, what are you really looking for. How would your life change if you find that?
What are you hoping for?
What do you want to happen?
What is incomplete right now?


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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:38 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thank you for your kind offer of assistance with my inquiry. It's much appreciated.

I've absorbed the rest of the information you posted and will begin to form some answers to your initial questions right away.

Dave.

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Vivien
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:03 am

Hi Dave,

I'm looking forward to your reply.

Have a nice day,
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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:20 pm

Hi Vivien,

Here is my response to your initial questions.

Liberation Unleashed

Tell me, what are you really looking for. How would your life change if you find that?

What I’m looking for is best defined as clarity. For a long time I’ve had the sense that I need to improve and develop myself in certain ways so that I could achieve a level of spiritual enlightenment that would lead to a state of satisfaction and peace. What I found in reality is that no matter what improvements seemed to be made I would either find myself facing entirely new obstacles to overcome or would return to the same old habits and patterns that always left me feeling unable to truly ‘attain’ what I was looking for. I sometimes found myself growing intellectually and developing better levels of empathy and connection with others, but the intellectual growth didn’t really change anything and the improvements in character often regressed as soon as any kind of setback or disappointment presented itself. This left me with feelings of inadequacy and frustration that I didn’t have the ability to change myself because of a combination of inertia and prior conditioning.

When I started looking more into non-dual ideas however, I started to glimpse something of the concept that the ‘I’ was the product of ignorance clouding our true natures, so I started to explore them further. From doing that, I’m able to comprehend the notion of there being no separate self, but haven’t had a definite experience of it yet. Therefore it’s the clear and definite realisation of no separate self that I am looking for.

If I find what I’m looking for, I believe my attention will be more focussed in the present moment which will lead to my life being lived more spontaneously with less concern about the past and the future. I think this would also bring a greater appreciation of the world and enable me to live in a more carefree and beneficent way.

What are you hoping for?

I hope that the realisation of no separate self will bring an increase of compassion and connectedness with the world and with others, a more profound and ‘real’ understanding of the nature of life and reality and an end to the cycle of yearning and dissatisfaction.

What do you want to happen?

I want the self-created scales to fall from my eyes and have a real, verifiable and permanent recognition of the illusion of the “I.” Beyond that happening, I would also like to help others gain that recognition.

What is incomplete right now?

What is incomplete is the connection between what I understand and what I truly know. Without realisation, intellectual understanding is hollow so I need to complete this connection between what I comprehend in theory but lack in experience.

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Vivien
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:42 am

Hi Dave,

I would like to ask you to learn to use the quotation function, so our conversation will be easier to read later for both of us.
So here is the link to a video again how to quote:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

Thank you for getting through these questions about expectations. It’s important, because every expectation is in a way of seeing what is here, right now. Every expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS. Expectations result in comparison. Comparison between what is happening, and the imagined expectation. Thus what has been seen can be thrown out or ignored, since it doesn’t match the expected outcome.

I go through all the expectations one-by-one. While you read them, please pay attention to what arises ‘in the body’. Is there any resistance to any of it?
For a long time I’ve had the sense that I need to improve and develop myself in certain ways so that I could achieve a level of spiritual enlightenment that would lead to a state of satisfaction and peace.
And what if there is no you who could achieve a state of spiritual enlightenment?
What if that the one who want to achieve this special state is the fictional self itself?

Seeing through the self illusion is NOT a state. It’s not a different state that what you are currently having.

Satisfaction or peace is a state, and no states are permanent, they are all subject to change. Seeing through the separate individual is not about not having any ‘bad’ or uncomfortable feelings any more. Rather it’s about seeing that emotions don’t belong to anything. They are free floating without being tied to or anchored to anything.

Many seekers believe that seeing through the separate individual is a completely different state that they are currently having, with some special qualities (happiness, bliss, constant peace or whatever). However, this is not the case. Seeing through the illusion that there is a separate entity (self) is not a state. When it is SEEN it, the knowledge becomes factual. Many seekers have the impression that seeing there is no self is a state to ‘abide in’. It's not.
unable to truly ‘attain’ what I was looking for
But there is nobody to attain anything.
I sometimes found myself growing intellectually and developing better levels of empathy and connection with others, but the intellectual growth didn’t really change anything and the improvements in character
Seeing through the self is not about improving in character, neither about any growth or attainment.
It’s just a simple recognition of the absence of an inherent self. That’s all.

It’s not about being better or improved. It’s not about self-improvement. Not at all.
This left me with feelings of inadequacy and frustration that I didn’t have the ability to change myself because of a combination of inertia and prior conditioning.
And what if the one who wants to change itself is the illusionary self, the fictional character?
I started to glimpse something of the concept that the ‘I’ was the product of ignorance clouding our true natures
And what if ‘my true nature’ is nothing else than an enticing spiritual concept/belief only

This investigation is NOT about becoming ‘my true self or true nature’…. Since there is literally nothing that could have a true or not-true nature.
Therefore it’s the clear and definite realisation of no separate self that I am looking for.
Yes, this is what we are going to explore.

But this realization won’t happen to you, it won’t be your attainments, since it’s about seeing that the you who wants to achieve this is simply not there, just imagined to be there… but actually there is nothing there.
If I find what I’m looking for, I believe my attention will be more focussed in the present moment
Not really. What is it that could be in the present moment? In order to be in the present moment, there has to be a self which could be in and out of the present moment.

‘be in the now’ is just another popular spiritual concept.
which will lead to my life being lived more spontaneously with less concern about the past and the future.
OK. This is a desire on behalf of the imaginary self to have a more pleasant life. To be less concerned about past and future. But this investigation is not about losing the concern of past and future, but about seeing that the one who is supposedly concerned is missing from the picture, is simply not there. And the freedom lies in the recognition of this.
Concerns about past and future won’t go away.. since the personality will be almost completely intact. It’s not about having more pleasant experienced for the self… it’s about seeing that the wanter is not there.
I think this would also bring a greater appreciation of the world and enable me to live in a more carefree and beneficent way.
Yes, we all want this… but this is a dream on behalf of the fictional self/character.
I hope that the realisation of no separate self will bring an increase of compassion and connectedness with the world and with others,
I really appreciate your honesty. But sorry to say that, but my job is to point out the falsity of these expectations. It cannot be known in advance how it will be like, it’s different from everybody.

But it’s not about having more pleasant experiences, while avoiding the unpleasant ones. Not at all.
a more profound and ‘real’ understanding of the nature of life and reality and an end to the cycle of yearning and dissatisfaction.
We all want this. But seeing no self won’t stop yearning and dissatisfaction.
But it can be seen that yearning and dissatisfaction doesn’t belong to anyone.
It’s just free floating without being attached to anything
Without realisation, intellectual understanding is hollow so I need to complete this connection between what I comprehend in theory but lack in experience.
Exactly. Intellectual understanding not just hollow, but utterly useless… since intellectual understanding is nothing else than conceptual beliefs… which are based on faith/belief and not experience

So our whole investigation will be about looking at experience directly, without any intellectual analysis, theory, speculation or imagination.

Please ponder on my comments to see your expectations from a different perspective. Because what I can say for sure, it won’t be how you imagine it to be. Since it cannot be known in advance. It’s never how one imagines it to be.

So it would be the best, if you could drop all your expectations, and just to be a clean slate.

For the time our investigation, I would like to ask you to stop reading/listening any teachers, and rather spend your time looking. Also, I would like to ask you to put aside all learned knowledge. You have to see this experientially and not relying on others’ experiences.
Can we agree on these?

Before starting, please read my above comments carefully a few more times and tell me what comes up by reading the comments about the expectations.
Is there any resistance to any of it?

Do you feel ready to start the investigation?


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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:35 am

Hi Vivien,

Thanks for giving me a lot to think about! I'll begin with my response to this:
While you read them, please pay attention to what arises ‘in the body’. Is there any resistance to any of it?

Starting off with my response to:
And what if there is no you who could achieve a state of spiritual enlightenment?
What if that the one who want to achieve this special state is the fictional self itself?
The initial reaction I had to this was one of mild anxiety and dismay manifesting bodily as a slight rise in heart rate. This could be considered as some of the resistance you were asking me to look out for. Having led a life where 'spiritual enlightenment' has been a long-term goal, seeing it as the aim of what may be a fictional self gave me feelings of loss.

After feeling that however, my reactions to your other points about the things I have looked to change and improve being the product of a fictional self were less resistant, leading at times to a smile or soft laugh to myself, as I felt a degree of affirmation or that looking to see the falsehood of the separate self was the right thing to be doing.

Despite this, there was then more resistance, coming with the sensation of a drop in the stomach at:
This investigation is NOT about becoming ‘my true self or true nature’…. Since there is literally nothing that could have a true or not-true nature.
As per my initial moment of shock described above, the idea of putting aside the carrot that had been leading the donkey for so long felt rather like a loss, a sacrifice. But I can see, on reflection, that as a concept it is rather vague, ethereal and mythologised. On re-reading your points today, I felt none of the initial sadness, shock or loss I first felt, noting a degree of curiosity and interest as to how all of this might unfold. This interest was especially piqued by:
It cannot be known in advance how it will be like, it’s different from everybody.
I'll admit that I didn't really have any idea what it might be like when I initially answered you, and that I was just hazarding a guess from what little I knew.

Neither was I really surprised by:
seeing no self won’t stop yearning and dissatisfaction.
I didn't really expect it to be a cure all for negative emotional states either, as I think I'm realistic enough to accept that such a cure isn't possible for a human being unless they're medicated beyond all sense.

So with these initial reactions and discoveries, I'm happy to consent to put all other advice, teachings, knowledge and expectations aside and concentrate on the matter at hand with you.

I feel ready to start the investigation.

Dave.

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Vivien
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:53 am

Hi Dave,
On re-reading your points today, I felt none of the initial sadness, shock or loss I first felt, noting a degree of curiosity and interest as to how all of this might unfold.
Great. If stronger fear or resistance comes up during out conversation, please let me know, so it can block the investigation.
I feel ready to start the investigation.
All right, let’s start it. We are going to start to investigate thoughts. Seeing thoughts clearly is essential part of the inquiry.

It is very important that you never think or ponder on the questions. Rather you actually have to look what you can see in your immediate experience without any thought interpretation.

Please always be thorough with looking. Look repeatedly several times before replying.

Please sit, doing nothing for a few minutes. Watch thoughts coming and going.

Can you trace a thought back to where it came?
In the same way, can you follow a thought to its destination?
Can you tell where thoughts come from and go to, without using any imagination or speculation?


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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:44 pm

Hi Vivien,
Can you trace a thought back to where it came?
In the same way, can you follow a thought to its destination?
Can you tell where thoughts come from and go to, without using any imagination or speculation?
I've performed this exercise a few times now and have the following consistent observations.

I noted that my thoughts arise when prompted by the memory of some recent life event, no matter how minor or random seemed to be. When trying to trace the actual place that these thoughts arise from rather than the cause however, it seems like they just pop into existence from nowhere.

I investigated this several more times with the same result and then moved on to thinking about following the trains of random thoughts that often manifested. Although they were sometimes thematically connected to one another, quite often they weren't. No matter the smoothness between the flow of them, I started to observe that there was in fact a slight break between each thought, as if each one were individually constructed from scratch rather than a fluid train of ideas. Observing further, with the aim of looking into the 'gap' between each of the thoughts, I noticed that they were separated by a void of nothingness that at times only lasted a fraction of a second. This was interesting as I had never thought to look between thoughts before. The origin of each of them however, the void of nothingness, was no different than the void from which slower and more single thoughts arose from.

Finally, I moved on to looking to where thoughts ended up going to, and discovered it to be the same nothingness from which they came. Observing this with attention, I even noticed the visual imagery of one thoughts visibly shimmer, like a desert mirage, before it vanished.

So, in conclusion, where they appear to come from and go to is... nowhere.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:41 am

Hi Dave,
When trying to trace the actual place that these thoughts arise from rather than the cause however, it seems like they just pop into existence from nowhere.
Exactly, nice looking.

Try an experiment.

Try to create a thought. Any thought, from scratch. What do you find?

Do you notice how thoughts seem to appear, hang around for a while and somehow pass, and then the next thought come?

What is making thoughts to appear?

Now try preventing a thought from appearing. Is it possible?


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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:15 am

Hi Vivien,
Try to create a thought. Any thought, from scratch. What do you find?
I decided to create the image of a white daffodil swaying in the wind on a grassy hillside. I kept this image fixed fairly firmly in my mind for what felt like ten seconds before it began to grow thinner and more ethereal. Just relaxing my mind a bit to observe the thought, the image grew strong again, then faded quickly into nothingness, being interrupted by the brief sound of the song 'Zippidy Doo Da' before there was the sound of a zip being closed accompanied by the image of the long blue pencil case I owned in high school being zipped up. Then the scene featuring the pencil case disappeared too.
Do you notice how thoughts seem to appear, hang around for a while and somehow pass, and then the next thought come?
Yes, that's exactly what happened in the example above. I noted that while the first thought was consistent and controlled before fading, the subsequent thought was entirely random in nature and had nothing to do with any obvious conscious input, and it both appeared and faded away far more chaotically.
What is making thoughts to appear?
In the case of the first thought, the power of suggestion made it appear as it was engineered as part of a controlled inquiry. In practice however, it was manufactured by the imagination. The second thought, being so random and interruptive in nature, appeared to be formed by a part of the mind that seeks to disturb and disrupt attempts to control thought. This too had the imagination as its origin, but not in a conscious or controlled way.
Now try preventing a thought from appearing. Is it possible?
On closing my eyes and focussing on nothing, I found no visible images appearing in my thoughts at all. However, in the dark silence I generated, snippets of music and voices could be heard that it was impossible to stop from manifesting even though they could be quickly silenced. However, whenever they were successfully silenced, they were almost immediately replaced by other random voices, noises and music,

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:55 am

Hi Dave,

You wrote about what you think how things are, and not how things actually are. But that’s all right, that’s why I’m here to point out when you are not paying attention to the raw unadulterated experience, but rather to THOUGHTS ABOUT experience.

The everyday belief is that I am the thinker of thoughts, and I have a control over thoughts.
However, when experience is looked at closely, while putting aside all interpretation, it turns out that these beliefs/assumptions cannot stand up to scrutiny.
In the case of the first thought, the power of suggestion made it appear as it was engineered as part of a controlled inquiry.
This is an intellectual reasoning, and it’s not coming from looking at experience directly.
However, in the dark silence I generated, snippets of music and voices could be heard that it was impossible to stop from manifesting even though they could be quickly silenced.
So you are saying that you were the one who generated these auditory thoughts of music.
So let’s investigate the assumptions that you are the creator of thoughts.

Try to create a thought from scratch. Repeat this exercise several times before replying.

How do you do it?
Do you use words to make up the thoughts?

Where do you get those words from? Is there a storage place where you go in and grab the word you need?

Do you methodically apply grammar? How do you apply grammar on those words?

And what does the thought look like when it is half formed, before you have finished creating it?

Or is there an infinite number of words somewhere stored hidden from sight, and you go there and pick and choose the words and the grammar structures to create a thought?

Or do you create the words themselves, letter by letter?

Where do you get the letters from?


It's very important that you don’t go to reasoning, you don’t start to think about the answers. Avoid any interpretation, analogy, metaphors, imagination, or any learned knowledge… rather focus on the raw facts of experience.

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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:27 am

Hi Vivien,
So you are saying that you were the one who generated these auditory thoughts of music.
No, it felt like quite the opposite to that. On trying to maintain a thoughtless state, snippets of nonsense words and music were coming unbidden. There was no control over them. They just happened.
Try to create a thought from scratch. Repeat this exercise several times before replying.
How do you do it?
Do you use words to make up the thoughts?
On trying to generate a visual thought from scratch, firstly without any words being used to try and make them appear, nothing happened. With nothing present in the mind, an attempt was made to construct a thought but there was nothing of any substance present to form them with. Then, random images began to flash into existence unbidden. These were put aside and another attempt to construct a thought from scratch was attempted. On subsequent attempts I noted that an unprompted narrative began, saying words such as 'I must create the image of x,' but the beginning of this narrative was not something I instructed to happen. Like the flashes of unbidden images that occurred on previous attempts, these words came along by themselves.

On another attempt, I closed my eyes with the intent of creating thought, and without any bidding a tree appeared accompanied by the word 'tree.' There was no attempt here to cause a tree to appear, it just did, and instantly.
Where do you get those words from? Is there a storage place where you go in and grab the word you need?
When words have appeared they don't feel like I'm choosing them. They appear to come without prompting and feel like they're floating on the surface of the mind rather than being in any kind of storage bank.
Do you methodically apply grammar? How do you apply grammar on those words?
No application of grammar takes place at the time, but corrections have been applied a few moments later when it's noted that the sequences of words can be messy.
And what does the thought look like when it is half formed, before you have finished creating it?
I've noted that visual images seem somewhat transparent in the darkness of my closed eyes and gradually become more solid with extra details being added as the image matures. None of the detail being added to the thought appear with any volition, but as part of an automatic process.
Or is there an infinite number of words somewhere stored hidden from sight, and you go there and pick and choose the words and the grammar structures to create a thought?
No it feels nothing like that. In the stages of creating thought, they just appear to be floating around in the mind and no attempt is made to add grammar.
Or do you create the words themselves, letter by letter?
No, again, there is no feeling of any kind of construction taking place.

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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Vivien » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:00 am

Hi Dave,

You did a nice looking :)
With nothing present in the mind
They appear to come without prompting and feel like they're floating on the surface of the mind
they just appear to be floating around in the mind
You are repeatedly talking about a mind, so let’s look into this.
feel like they're floating on the surface of the mind
So what is this FEELING of ‘thought thoughts are floating on the surface of the mind’?

Where is the location of this feeling? In the chest? In the hands? In the head? Where exactly?
HOW can ‘thoughts floating on the surface of the mind’ be actually felt?

Can a thought be felt?
Can a mind be felt?

Is ‘thoughts floating on the surface of the mind’ is actually a feeling/sensation, or is rather a visual thought?


You are talking about the mind, as if it were be a location where thoughts appear in/on and float.
So where is the EXACT location of this mind?

How does this mind look like?
How bit it is?
What shape it has?
What is its texture?
Color?

HOW do you know EXACTLY that thoughts are floating on/in a mind?

Where does this information coming from experientially?


Please look very carefully, and don’t go to imagination, speculation or any theory.
Just investigate the raw experience.

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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Ainonia
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Re: Feel like I'm close but need a push

Postby Ainonia » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:06 am

Hi Vivien,
Where is the location of this feeling? In the chest? In the hands? In the head? Where exactly?
I perceived it solely in the space inside my head.
HOW can ‘thoughts floating on the surface of the mind’ be actually felt?

Can a thought be felt?
Can a mind be felt?
My experience is that while thoughts can trigger emotional feelings, they can't be 'felt' in themselves. Similarly, mind can be perceived but not felt. 'Feel' is definitely the wrong adjective to describe that act of perceiving the mind, as it is observed without any actual 'feeling' of it.
Is ‘thoughts floating on the surface of the mind’ is actually a feeling/sensation, or is rather a visual thought?
Definitely a visual thought. As above, I could perceive no actual 'feeling' of these words or any sensation of them actually floating.
You are talking about the mind, as if it were be a location where thoughts appear in/on and float.
So where is the EXACT location of this mind?
Beyond the perception that it seems to be inside the head, it doesn't have a location that can be pinpointed.
How does this mind look like?
How bit it is?
What shape it has?
What is its texture?
Color?
It has no appearance, shape, size or colour. The illusion that it is black in colour came entirely from the fact that my eyes were shut while performing the act of looking. This perception can be instantly dispelled just by opening the eyes.
HOW do you know EXACTLY that thoughts are floating on/in a mind?
There is no verifiable way of confirming this.
Where does this information coming from experientially?
Experientially, it is coming from the information being communicated by passing thoughts.

Dave


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