Chris's thread

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Vivien
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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:43 am

Hi Chris,
I find it very useful to simply look at experience and notice it all happening by itself.
Yes. Seeing that there is no enduring autonomous self/me governing life is seeing that everything is happening by itself.

What is the difference between a happening and a doing?

Look around, all colours are given, they are happening. It’s not that the me-character can choose and make colours that are present into different ones. Or choose not to see green and see pink instead. Colours are happening. Shapes are happening. Sounds are happening.

What about sensations? Are they happening or the me-character doing them?
And how about feelings? Are they something the me-character does or something that is given?

Now look, what is not given?

What is not happening effortlessly and needs your doing?
Is there anything that is not just spontaneously arising?

Is the me-character doing anything in life?
Or is the me-character given? As an idea? Or as a self-directed, autonomous entity?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

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chrisaaa
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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:52 pm

Hi Vivien

I’ve just been meditating and realised that the self is just a belief and is not a fact of direct experience, any more than belief in rainbows or gravity. I believe (or at least I used to) that ‘I’ am looking out from behind my eyes; but as you made me see a while back, I don’t experience my eyes. I experience vision; and when I look closely, thoughts aren’t appearing behind my vision because my vision isn’t happening in any specific place, it isn’t happening anywhere, it’s just happening; same with thoughts.

I kind of saw this already, but I feel like I really see it now so thought I would share. It feels important.
What about sensations? Are they happening or the me-character doing them?
No, sensations are separate from the belief in the self.
And how about feelings? Are they something the me-character does or something that is given?
I keep coming back to this question and I still can’t answer it with 100% certainty, so I’ll get back to you when I can.
Now look, what is not given?
Nothing, even the belief in self is given, just like all beliefs.
What is not happening effortlessly and needs your doing?
Nothing because there is no me to do anything. A belief can’t do anything
Is there anything that is not just spontaneously arising?
Can’t say that there is.
Is the me-character doing anything in life?
Or is the me-character given? As an idea? Or as a self-directed, autonomous entity?
It’s a belief; it has no autonomy.

I’m just wondering, why does it not go away? My belief in the tooth fairy went away.

Thanks Vivien
Chris

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:31 am

Hi Chris,
I’ve just been meditating and realised that the self is just a belief and is not a fact of direct experience, any more than belief in rainbows or gravity. I believe (or at least I used to) that ‘I’ am looking out from behind my eyes; but as you made me see a while back, I don’t experience my eyes. I experience vision; and when I look closely, thoughts aren’t appearing behind my vision because my vision isn’t happening in any specific place, it isn’t happening anywhere, it’s just happening; same with thoughts.
Thank you for sharing this. Now this knowing has to go deeper, bellow the head, as a felt experience.

As well as the idea of 'Chris', there is also a visceral experience, which you have come to associate with 'Chris'.
A real sense, that you recognized, and identify as, being 'Chris'.
A visceral sense which is very familiar, the ‘sense of me’.

Please scan through the body and find this ‘sense of me’. It is there.

Nothing because there is no me to do anything. A belief can’t do anything
OK. So there is no real separate entity being inside the body, with its own independent existence.
But does this mean that you don’t exist?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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chrisaaa
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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:27 pm

Hi Vivien
Thank you for sharing this. Now this knowing has to go deeper, bellow the head, as a felt experience.
As well as the idea of 'Chris', there is also a visceral experience, which you have come to associate with 'Chris'.
A real sense, that you recognized, and identify as, being 'Chris'.
A visceral sense which is very familiar, the ‘sense of me’.
Please scan through the body and find this ‘sense of me’. It is there.
When you say ‘below the head’, I’m not sure what you mean. I have a visceral feeling of me, but it seems to be around the head area if it’s anywhere.
This may sound odd. Before I become mindful, there is this feeling that I am in my head. I even have a picture of my head and it goes hand in hand with the feeling that I am looking out at the world from behind my eyes. But when I become mindful, the belief and the picture evaporate. Then, I can only say that it is there, appearing like a thought, but not in any specific place.
Nothing because there is no me to do anything. A belief can’t do anything

OK. So there is no real separate entity being inside the body, with its own independent existence.
But does this mean that you don’t exist?
The concept of me exists, like the concepts of apples and saxophones, but the ‘I’ itself does not; just as the picture of a saxophone in my head does not.

Thanks
Chris

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:53 am

Hi Chris,
When you say ‘below the head’, I’m not sure what you mean.
The rest of the body below the head. We often ignore the body almost completely, except when there is some unpleasant emotion, pain, hunger, etc., - since we live most of our lives ‘up in the head’. Ignoring the rest of the body ‘below neck’.
Before I become mindful, there is this feeling that I am in my head. I even have a picture of my head and it goes hand in hand with the feeling that I am looking out at the world from behind my eyes.
Stay with this feeling of ‘I am in the head’, be with it like it's some new phenomenon for which you have no name.
What do you discover about the feeling, as a feeling only?
But when I become mindful, the belief and the picture evaporate. Then, I can only say that it is there, appearing like a thought, but not in any specific place.
Yes, but the sensation of ‘me being inside the head’ remains. So stay with this sensation/feeling. It’s an actual physical sensation being mistaken to be the location of ‘Chris’.

Just stay with it without giving it a name.
What do you discover of this sensation when you don’t call it anything?
V: OK. So there is no real separate entity being inside the body, with its own independent existence.
But does this mean that you don’t exist?
C: The concept of me exists, like the concepts of apples and saxophones, but the ‘I’ itself does not; just as the picture of a saxophone in my head does not.
So can you say with 100% certainty that “I don’t exist”?
Or all that can be said that that “ the ‘I’ doesn’t exists in a way you thought it was (as a real person with agency)?

But does this mean that you don’t exist at all? Not as “Chris’, but the one that is aware of this experience?
What is it that is reading these letters off the screen?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:41 pm

Hi Vivien

I'm at work today so I probably won't be able to post a proper reply to your pointers. These ones seem quite hard anyway so another day on them might be useful.

Thanks
Chris

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:54 pm

All right, thank you for letting me know.

Have a nice day,
Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:48 pm

Hi Vivien
Stay with this feeling of ‘I am in the head’, be with it like it's some new phenomenon for which you have no name.
What do you discover about the feeling, as a feeling only?
It’s definitely in the head, somewhere in the centre. And there’s definitely a feeling of me looking out from behind my eyes. It relies on other beliefs like the belief in the existence of my head and my eyes. It doesn’t go away. It’s the feeling of ownership and separateness. It’s a much weaker feeling when I focus on it in this way. It’s the feeling of being the centre of everything, and of being the author of everything even though I see that it isn’t. It still feels like it’s my core.
Yes, but the sensation of ‘me being inside the head’ remains. So stay with this sensation/feeling. It’s an actual physical sensation being mistaken to be the location of ‘Chris’.
I'm struggling to see why it would be both a belief/thought and a feeling at the same time. None of my other thoughts or beliefs feel like anything.
So can you say with 100% certainty that “I don’t exist”?
Or all that can be said that that “ the ‘I’ doesn’t exists in a way you thought it was (as a real person with agency)?
I can’t say this with 100% certainty yet. There’s still a feeling of ‘me’ that is at the centre of everything, but it's much weaker now. I feel like I'm slowly unraveling. I’ll keep working on it.

Thanks
Chris

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:05 am

Hi Chris,
V: So can you say with 100% certainty that “I don’t exist”?
Or all that can be said that that “ the ‘I’ doesn’t exists in a way you thought it was (as a real person with agency)?
C: I can’t say this with 100% certainty yet. There’s still a feeling of ‘me’ that is at the centre of everything, but it's much weaker now. I feel like I'm slowly unraveling. I’ll keep working on it.
Do you think that the ‘goal’ is to get to point where you say “I don’t exist”?

Many people misunderstand the pointer of there being no separate self. They adopt it as a concept, and take it on as new belief, and then conclude that “I don’t exist”.

There being no separate self is not equal in saying that “I don’t exist”. Far from it.
I exist. I am. There is existence. There is an am-ness / is-ness / beingness.

It’s not that I don’t exist. Rather, I am not what I believe myself to be.
The thing that is not real is the separate self, but I am here. Always here. I cannot not be here.
But not here as a separate self, as an autonomous person with volition, called Chris or Vivien.
‘Something’ knows what is going on. ‘Something’ knows this experience here-and-now. ‘Something’ knows these letters on the screen.

The question is if this ‘something’ that knows or aware of these letters on the screen is Chris, the person?

Is there a Chris reading these words, or just reading happening (and you are just aware of the phenomenon called ‘reading happening’)?

It’s definitely in the head, somewhere in the centre. And there’s definitely a feeling of me looking out from behind my eyes. It relies on other beliefs like the belief in the existence of my head and my eyes. It doesn’t go away.
No no, we are not going to there. We are not going to deny everyday existence with a conclusion that there is no head, nor eyes.

The head and eyes might not be what we believe them to be, but we don’t deny that they are there (in form of experiencable sensations).

The question is not whether there is a head or eyes.
The question is not even if there is a feeling or a perception of ‘me looking out from behind the eyes’.
Rather, the question is there is an actual person, called ‘Chris’ sitting behind the eyes, as an autonomous independent entity with its own will and doership, who is pulling levels and managing what is going on.

Just stay with the feeling of ‘looking out from behind the eyes’. Just FEEL it.
Stay with this feeling, be with it like it's some new phenomenon for which you have no name.

What do you discover about the feeling, as a feeling only?
It’s the feeling of ownership and separateness. It’s a much weaker feeling when I focus on it in this way. It’s the feeling of being the centre of everything, and of being the author of everything even though I see that it isn’t. It still feels like it’s my core.
Drop the labels of ‘ownership’, ‘separation’, ‘being the center of everything’, ‘being the author of everything’. Just put them aside.

If you don’t give any name to this feeling, if you don’t label it at all, but just curiously stay with it, as if it were a totally new and unknown phenomenon you’ve just discovered, then what can you know about this feeling?

Is this feeling in itself has any other characteristics other than being a feeling or a sensation?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:10 am

Just as a side note: I do face-to-face Skype sessions too, which is a quite different experience than this forum format. So if you find looking alone difficult, this possibility of doing it together is there.
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:47 pm

Hi Vivien
Do you think that the ‘goal’ is to get to point where you say “I don’t exist”?
Many people misunderstand the pointer of there being no separate self. They adopt it as a concept, and take it on as new belief, and then conclude that “I don’t exist”.
There being no separate self is not equal in saying that “I don’t exist”. Far from it. I exist. I am. There is existence. There is an am-ness / is-ness / beingness.
It’s not that I don’t exist. Rather, I am not what I believe myself to be.
The thing that is not real is the separate self, but I am here. Always here. I cannot not be here.
But not here as a separate self, as an autonomous person with volition, called Chris or Vivien.
‘Something’ knows what is going on. ‘Something’ knows this experience here-and-now. ‘Something’ knows these letters on the screen.
I’m a bit confused. I thought that the ‘I’ and the separate self were the same thing, or were at least reliant on each other. That ‘I’ was a label used to describe the separate self. And if the separate self does not exist, then how can I exist?
I don’t understand how it can be a thought and a sensation at the same time. I thought I was making progress when I realised (or thought I realised) that the ‘I’ was just a thought, but now I’m just really confused.
The question is if this ‘something’ that knows or aware of these letters on the screen is Chris, the person?

Is there a Chris reading these words, or just reading happening (and you are just aware of the phenomenon called ‘reading happening’)?
I clearly see that reading is just happening, that it is not ‘Chris’ doing the reading.

Just stay with the feeling of ‘looking out from behind the eyes’. Just FEEL it.
Stay with this feeling, be with it like it's some new phenomenon for which you have no name.
What do you discover about the feeling, as a feeling only?
I can tell that it doesn’t actually do anything managerial, everything is happening separately from it. Focussing on it conjures up an image of the head and face. I think it’s a mechanism for monitoring my face. I’m sure there’s more to see, I’m just not seeing it.
Is this feeling in itself has any other characteristics other than being a feeling or a sensation?
I’d say it’s a thought, but I’ve already discovered that. I've been looking all today and yesterday and I really can’t see anything else, sorry.
Just as a side note: I do face-to-face Skype sessions too, which is a quite different experience than this forum format. So if you find looking alone difficult, this possibility of doing it together is there.
If you think it's best, I'm happy to give it a go. Sorry Vivien, I feel a bit lost with it now. I'll keep looking in the meantime.

Chris

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:48 am

Hi Chris,
I’m a bit confused. I thought that the ‘I’ and the separate self were the same thing, or were at least reliant on each other. That ‘I’ was a label used to describe the separate self. And if the separate self does not exist, then how can I exist?
You exist, but not as a separate self. What doesn’t exist other than a mental construct, is the separate self.
But you are not that mental construct.
But just because you are not a mental construct, it doesn’t mean that you don’t exist.
You exist, but not as Chris, not as the thought story, and not even as the body.
Something is aware, here now.
V: The question is if this ‘something’ that knows or aware of these letters on the screen is Chris, the person?

Is there a Chris reading these words, or just reading happening (and you are just aware of the phenomenon called ‘reading happening’)?
C: I clearly see that reading is just happening, that it is not ‘Chris’ doing the reading.
Yes, it’s not Chris who is doing the reading. But something is aware of these letters, isn’t?
That something that knows these letters, is not Chris.
But these letters on the screen are known!

We are not going to deny existence.
That would be just as much a belief than the belief in a separate self.
You are always here. You cannot not be here.
But you are here NOT as ‘Chris’, not as a separate self.
You are.
But not Chris.
But you are.
You exist.
I don’t understand how it can be a thought and a sensation at the same time.
Look. You are neither a thought, nor a sensation.
And yet, you are.
Just notice, that you exists.
You aren’t dead, right?
If you are not dead, then you exist.

Please tell me, are you dead?

Really look into this. Deeply investigate if you are alive or you are dead.
I thought I was making progress when I realised (or thought I realised) that the ‘I’ was just a thought, but now I’m just really confused.
Yes, and this is a progress to discover that you are not the thought of I. But just because you are not the thought of I, it doesn’t mean that you don’t exist.

Something is aware of the thought of I, isn’t it?
Something realizes that I is a thought, isn’t?
But what if you are not the I-thought, but the one who is aware of that I-thought?

If you think it's best, I'm happy to give it a go. Sorry Vivien, I feel a bit lost with it now. I'll keep looking in the meantime.
It’s up to you if you want to inquiry face-to-face. It can be useful, but it’s up to you. I’m sending you some details in a private message (so please watch out for that), so you can decide if you want to have a session or not.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:53 pm

Hi Vivien

I really appreciate your offer of a skype session but I think I'm ok for the time being. I feel a lot better about it today. I've been a bit demoralised with it over the last few days but I'm 100% on it again. I was a bit lost for a while, but I think I see things clearer today. I was pretty busy today so didn't go as deep into these pointers as I wanted to but I have a lot of free time this week so will throw myself into it.

Thank you for all your guidance by the way, it's been such a huge help.
Please tell me, are you dead?
I can’t be dead or else I wouldn’t be aware of anything. I am alive, just not in a way I thought I was. This feeling of looking out from my eyes is still there. I see that this sensation is not me but that I attach the concept of me to it. I still don’t think I see everything you’re trying to get me to with this pointer put I’ll keep working on it.
Yes, and this is a progress to discover that you are not the thought of I. But just because you are not the thought of I, it doesn’t mean that you don’t exist.
Something is aware of the thought of I, isn’t it?
Something realizes that I is a thought, isn’t?
But what if you are not the I-thought, but the one who is aware of that I-thought?
So is it a question of where I am looking from? So it would be from nowhere because there is no ‘I’ (at least not in the way I am used to understanding what ‘I’ am), there is only looking and seeing. I would normally look at ‘the story of Chris as ‘me’, identifying with the story to such a degree that I mistake the story as ‘me’. But the story is just a part of me, that is self-generating. There’s no central ‘I’ in charge of the story’s construction.

Chris

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Re: Chris's thread

Postby Vivien » Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:52 am

Hi Chris,
I really appreciate your offer of a skype session but I think I'm ok for the time being. I feel a lot better about it today. I've been a bit demoralised with it over the last few days but I'm 100% on it again. I was a bit lost for a while, but I think I see things clearer today.|
I’m glad to hear that :)
Thank you for all your guidance by the way, it's been such a huge help.
You are welcome.
I can’t be dead or else I wouldn’t be aware of anything. I am alive, just not in a way I thought I was.
Yes. So you exist, just not in a way you thought.
This feeling of looking out from my eyes is still there. I see that this sensation is not me but that I attach the concept of me to it.
OK. Just stay with this feeling.
Sit with this feeling, nothing special, a feeling like all the other feelings.
Sit for a moment with the feeling, purely as a feeling.
As it's a feeling, feel it. It has no name, nor needs one.

What happens when you just sit with this feeling behind the eyes, but without naming it or calling it anything?
So is it a question of where I am looking from? So it would be from nowhere because there is no ‘I’ (at least not in the way I am used to understanding what ‘I’ am), there is only looking and seeing. I would normally look at ‘the story of Chris as ‘me’, identifying with the story to such a degree that I mistake the story as ‘me’. But the story is just a part of me, that is self-generating. There’s no central ‘I’ in charge of the story’s construction.
Is this something you clearly see, or rather it’s a logical conclusion?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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chrisaaa
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Re: Chris's thread

Postby chrisaaa » Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:46 pm

Hi Vivien
OK. Just stay with this feeling.
Sit with this feeling, nothing special, a feeling like all the other feelings.
Sit for a moment with the feeling, purely as a feeling.
As it's a feeling, feel it. It has no name, nor needs one.

What happens when you just sit with this feeling behind the eyes, but without naming it or calling it anything?
Sorry but I’m not really getting this pointer. I’m sure I’m doing it right but nothing really happens when I just sit with the feeling. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Is this something you clearly see, or rather it’s a logical conclusion?
I can’t say with 100% certainty either way yet. I can clearly see that I am not creating the story, but I’m not yet confident enough to say that the story is absolutely not me.

Chris


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