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Direct Pointing (no self) and AF

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Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/25/11 3:53 PM
Hi All –
I’ve been working with Elena on direct pointing for several weeks. She is convinced I have seen the illusion of self and while I might have, it’s not my current state. The changes in perception are primarily gone. If there was some awakening (I’m a bit of a skeptic) my understanding is this “non-abiding” type is not uncommon, in fact it’s the norm. So what is required is a deepening to the point of permanency of what has been experienced. While AF is still the goal, it’s been made clear the thinning or removal of a sense of self, like what is done with this Direct Pointing, is helpful toward achieving an Actual Freedom. So there is motivation to continue with this movement toward full elimination.

What’s awkward, seemingly incompatible to me, is the “practice” or methods of full realization of this Non-duality vs. Actual Freedom. The non-duality practice essentially revolves around perceiving everything as not me. I am not feelings nor do I have them; I do not have beliefs; I am not mind, I am not body, I do not have attachments; I do not have intention; I do not have control etc…While the A practice seems more conventional. You can start off by setting aside these concepts and perceive yourself as having beliefs, being feelings, having control to make changes, try to experience felicity etc…
This is probably not written well and it’s certainly more complicated than this. But the overarching distinction that I’m trying to highlight is one between direct and constant focus on seeing the illusion of self vs. AF which does not need everything be related back to having no sense of self.

A small example if this is not clear. Before I came across this direct pointing asking HAIETMOBA was fairly straightforward. How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? “Well, I feel a little sad. My dog died and… Well that shouldn’t stop me from being happy and harmless now. This is my only moment of being alive. What’s my belief about the dog dying that causing the sadness such that I can see my belief as silly?”

Now when asking HAIETMOBA, I literally stop at, “How am I”? What is “I”? How can “I”, as a thought, have an experience? I don’t experience anything. How can “I” as a thought, a belief, HAVE other beliefs? That makes no sense. Those feelings are real and part of the body, but they are not me etc…

While some of this may also be true from an ultimate perspective with AF, the process is different and I get derailed when these no-self concepts come up in regular AF practice.

So my questions are:
1) Are these truly incompatible?
2) If so, would it make sense to focus on No-Self for a while, to some point, and then return to AF practice?
3) Is there some good way to reconcile them in part, are in whole?

It might be important to note I don’t have any Buddhist insight experience so I have not needed to wrestle with the concept of no self at this level when I started my AF practice 5-6 months ago. Now that I have had some experience with this no-self I can’t get back into the flow I had with AF before and it would seem I need to make a choice between the two, at least temporarily. I’m hoping this might be relatable to some post path meditators who are now pursuing AF such that they could provide some guidance.

Someday I'll learn to be brief.
Thanks as always,
Ed

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/25/11 4:55 PM as a reply to ed c.
I don't know too much about non-duality but I did come to actualism after 6 months of non-duality stuff.

As I recall, there are two components of most non-duality teachings, 1) there is no 'me' and 2) I am 'that'/'awareness'/etc.

I think it might be telling that there is the need for the deluded 2nd point of non-duality teachings. The questioning and investigation into how there isn't a 'me' doesn't work for them in ending the illusion. They need to 'be' something else instead.

I think you might find the same with actualism mixed with ND point (1). Although the intellectual mind wants to deconstruct the 'me' and point out that there really isn't one, that intellectual part of the approach just might not lead to any changes. I've certainly tried mixing ND point (1) and actualism but then again nothing seems to work for me anyway.

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/25/11 10:05 PM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
Now when asking HAIETMOBA, I literally stop at, “How am I”? What is “I”? How can “I”, as a thought, have an experience? I don’t experience anything. How can “I” as a thought, a belief, HAVE other beliefs? That makes no sense. Those feelings are real and part of the body, but they are not me etc…


well it's simple - 'you' don't have beliefs, 'you' are those beliefs, those emotions... 'i' am 'my' feelings and 'my' feelings are 'me'. that might be more obvious to you now as a result of your direct pointing work. you no longer think there is a separate, permanent 'you' - yet there is a 'you' as emotions, feelings, beliefs, discomfort, clinging, aversion... in short, suffering. remember that Richard was enlightened for most of the time he was applying the method he devised, thus to answer the question of 'are they incompatible?' the answer is certainly 'no'.

when i say 'you' are 'your' feelings, i don't mean a separate, permanent you, that is hidden somewhere.. but that very feeling itself is you. that's what you have to look at..

so when you ask HAIETMOBA, the answer might be: as this anger, as this joy, as this etc...

does that help?

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 6:29 AM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
Hi All –
I’ve been working with Elena on direct pointing for several weeks. She is convinced I have seen the illusion of self and while I might have, it’s not my current state. The changes in perception are primarily gone. If there was some awakening (I’m a bit of a skeptic) my understanding is this “non-abiding” type is not uncommon, in fact it’s the norm. So what is required is a deepening to the point of permanency of what has been experienced. While AF is still the goal, it’s been made clear the thinning or removal of a sense of self, like what is done with this Direct Pointing, is helpful toward achieving an Actual Freedom. So there is motivation to continue with this movement toward full elimination.

What’s awkward, seemingly incompatible to me, is the “practice” or methods of full realization of this Non-duality vs. Actual Freedom. The non-duality practice essentially revolves around perceiving everything as not me. I am not feelings nor do I have them; I do not have beliefs; I am not mind, I am not body, I do not have attachments; I do not have intention; I do not have control etc…While the A practice seems more conventional. You can start off by setting aside these concepts and perceive yourself as having beliefs, being feelings, having control to make changes, try to experience felicity etc…
This is probably not written well and it’s certainly more complicated than this. But the overarching distinction that I’m trying to highlight is one between direct and constant focus on seeing the illusion of self vs. AF which does not need everything be related back to having no sense of self.

A small example if this is not clear. Before I came across this direct pointing asking HAIETMOBA was fairly straightforward. How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? “Well, I feel a little sad. My dog died and… Well that shouldn’t stop me from being happy and harmless now. This is my only moment of being alive. What’s my belief about the dog dying that causing the sadness such that I can see my belief as silly?”

Now when asking HAIETMOBA, I literally stop at, “How am I”? What is “I”? How can “I”, as a thought, have an experience? I don’t experience anything. How can “I” as a thought, a belief, HAVE other beliefs? That makes no sense. Those feelings are real and part of the body, but they are not me etc…

While some of this may also be true from an ultimate perspective with AF, the process is different and I get derailed when these no-self concepts come up in regular AF practice.

So my questions are:
1) Are these truly incompatible?
2) If so, would it make sense to focus on No-Self for a while, to some point, and then return to AF practice?
3) Is there some good way to reconcile them in part, are in whole?

It might be important to note I don’t have any Buddhist insight experience so I have not needed to wrestle with the concept of no self at this level when I started my AF practice 5-6 months ago. Now that I have had some experience with this no-self I can’t get back into the flow I had with AF before and it would seem I need to make a choice between the two, at least temporarily. I’m hoping this might be relatable to some post path meditators who are now pursuing AF such that they could provide some guidance.

Someday I'll learn to be brief.
Thanks as always,
Ed


In direct pointing you see something that is already true. There is no such thing as a self. You thought there was, but all this time it wasn't true after all. They also make extremely clear not to fall for the other illusions that enlightened people have, like "I am Awareness."

Their point is simple and clear. You see the reality of the fact that there is no self.

This is a good thing to see since it's simply true anyway.

In AF you set out to reach a specific goal and do things to create a situation that is not already true.

To be honest, I wouldn't worry about it. If you see that there is no such thing as a self, good. You've seen something that was already true and is good to know. If this affects your AF practice, you just have a new experience of being alive to apply the method to.

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 10:01 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


when i say 'you' are 'your' feelings, i don't mean a separate, permanent you, that is hidden somewhere.. but that very feeling itself is you. that's what you have to look at..

so when you ask HAIETMOBA, the answer might be: as this anger, as this joy, as this etc...

does that help?


Hi Beo -
Thanks for response, it does help somewhat but there are a few points to consider.
1) In Direct pointing you are not feelings. So you would not investigate in such a manner to say “I am anger”, “I am joy”. The opposite would be true, this anger is not me.
2) You say “that is what you have to look at”. Non dual would not ask “you” to investigate. It would remind you, you are not the investigator. Right? You are a thought, a belief, not real in any way. No control, no deciding, no ability to think, no feelings. This is the constant drum at every moment, not me, nothing is me. This is the message that is heard all day in “my” head. Notice how the hand reached out for that coffee without “me”. Notice how all those words came out of the mouth without “me”. Notice the typing is happening without “me”. Technically it’s not even me noticing. It’s like a plea to the intellect to recognize this “me” isn’t doing anything. It’s not feeling, it’s not deciding, it’s not thinking etc…

This might have worked for Richard because he was non-dual when applying his AF method. I am currently “dual” (regardless of temporary states or insights into non-dual) trying to apply the AF method, taking into account the truth of non-dual experiences, but it doesn’t seem to work. The compatibility issue I’m talking about is more about sequencing. It’s like reading chapters in a book out of order. It doesn’t make sense that way.

Maybe the issue stems from starting AF with a very clear “belief” of what I was but now Direct Pointing has shaken that foundation and I am unclear what I am anymore? Applying the AF method in the same as before is not possible as the thing I saw myself to be is not the same anymore. But it’s still unclear what “I” am, so applying anything to a sense of self is confusing. This is not just limited to AF.
Does that make sense?

@ Nad -
Nad A.:
but then again nothing seems to work for me anyway.


I have often wondered what makes you keep reading here given nothing has worked for so many years. Don’t take that the wrong way. I appreciate your posts and their logical, practical nature. You don’t seem be trying to argue with people just to get them to see things your way. You seem to genuinely want to understand other views. Does it feel like there is a missing piece to the puzzle you’ll find here one day that will tie everything together? I ask because "my" issue is giving up too quickly and moving on. Whatever "you" have, "I" need. emoticon

@ Simon –
Simon L:

To be honest, I wouldn't worry about it. If you see that there is no such thing as a self, good. You've seen something that was already true and is good to know. If this affects your AF practice, you just have a new experience of being alive to apply the method to.


Thanks. Good feedback. As I responded to Beo, especially at the end, the crux is probably the shaken, unclear sense of self and how to proceed from here. So here is how that relates to your last sentence. Why would “I” want to continue to indulge the illusion of “me” investigating “my” experience? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just focus all effort on fully eliminating that illusion of self by directly and consistently reminding “myself” that none of this is “me”? Doing that cannot be done at the same time while asking “HAIETMOBA”.
Thoughts?

Thanks
Ed

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 10:12 AM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:


@ Simon –
Simon L:

To be honest, I wouldn't worry about it. If you see that there is no such thing as a self, good. You've seen something that was already true and is good to know. If this affects your AF practice, you just have a new experience of being alive to apply the method to.


Thanks. Good feedback. As I responded to Beo, especially at the end, the crux is probably the shaken, unclear sense of self and how to proceed from here. So here is how that relates to your last sentence. Why would “I” want to continue to indulge the illusion of “me” investigating “my” experience? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just focus all effort on fully eliminating that illusion of self by directly and consistently reminding “myself” that none of this is “me”? Doing that cannot be done at the same time while asking “HAIETMOBA”.
Thoughts?

Thanks
Ed


Yes, too many on your side. emoticon

It is quite common for someone who has seen through the illusion of self to get confused. Give it some time to adjust.

In AF, several things are labeled as self, and technically those things aren't self since there is no self. But those things do exist. The social stuff, the instinctual passion, etc.. They are still there. Richard happens to call those things self. While technically that is incorrect, it does not matter. It;s just the same stuff, just seen from the perspective of there being noone to own them.

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 10:37 AM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:

@ Nad -
Nad A.:
but then again nothing seems to work for me anyway.


I have often wondered what makes you keep reading here given nothing has worked for so many years. Don’t take that the wrong way. I appreciate your posts and their logical, practical nature. You don’t seem be trying to argue with people just to get them to see things your way. You seem to genuinely want to understand other views. Does it feel like there is a missing piece to the puzzle you’ll find here one day that will tie everything together? I ask because "my" issue is giving up too quickly and moving on. Whatever "you" have, "I" need. emoticon


It's simply the memory of my PCE that keeps me here and keeps nagging me about actualism.

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 11:07 AM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
This might have worked for Richard because he was non-dual when applying his AF method. I am currently “dual” (regardless of temporary states or insights into non-dual) trying to apply the AF method, taking into account the truth of non-dual experiences, but it doesn’t seem to work. The compatibility issue I’m talking about is more about sequencing. It’s like reading chapters in a book out of order. It doesn’t make sense that way.
...
Maybe the issue stems from starting AF with a very clear “belief” of what I was but now Direct Pointing has shaken that foundation and I am unclear what I am anymore? Applying the AF method in the same as before is not possible as the thing I saw myself to be is not the same anymore. But it’s still unclear what “I” am, so applying anything to a sense of self is confusing. This is not just limited to AF.
Does that make sense?


hmm yes. i had the very same problem, and i flip-flopped for a while between going for '4th path' (fully 'non-dual' in terms of this kind of non-duality[1]) and 'AF', and as a result i had half-hearted practice in both, and didn't make much progress in either. this nagging you refer to seems similar to 'insight disease', which does get in the way of Actualist practice in that it derails one's efforts if you let it. at some point i realized that it just felt so much better to practice actualism. it's a far more potent practice: one can get to it without getting 'enlightened' beforehand, and it makes 'enlightenment' no longer necessary. if you can do it directly, go for it.. but it seems being 'enlightened' does help, if you don't fall for its traps (e.g. that anger arises as naturally and in the same way as visual input).

ed c:
1) In Direct pointing you are not feelings. So you would not investigate in such a manner to say “I am anger”, “I am joy”. The opposite would be true, this anger is not me.

maybe reading nick's explanation would help, which contrasts practice which aims for 4th path with practice which aims for AF.

ed c:
2) You say “that is what you have to look at”. Non dual would not ask “you” to investigate. It would remind you, you are not the investigator. Right? You are a thought, a belief, not real in any way. No control, no deciding, no ability to think, no feelings. This is the constant drum at every moment, not me, nothing is me. This is the message that is heard all day in “my” head. Notice how the hand reached out for that coffee without “me”. Notice how all those words came out of the mouth without “me”. Notice the typing is happening without “me”. Technically it’s not even me noticing. It’s like a plea to the intellect to recognize this “me” isn’t doing anything. It’s not feeling, it’s not deciding, it’s not thinking etc…


indeed, yet investigation still happens. so let that investigation direct itself. no 'you' there, just investigation being directed. intention remains even with no 'you'.

[1] i say this kind cause emotions are a form of duality already, even if they aren't seen as such (as is often the cause with people who get 'enlightened' without exposure to the actualist framework beforehand).

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 11:14 AM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
ed c:

@ Nad -
Nad A.:
but then again nothing seems to work for me anyway.


I have often wondered what makes you keep reading here given nothing has worked for so many years. Don’t take that the wrong way. I appreciate your posts and their logical, practical nature. You don’t seem be trying to argue with people just to get them to see things your way. You seem to genuinely want to understand other views. Does it feel like there is a missing piece to the puzzle you’ll find here one day that will tie everything together? I ask because "my" issue is giving up too quickly and moving on. Whatever "you" have, "I" need. emoticon


It's simply the memory of my PCE that keeps me here and keeps nagging me about actualism.


Nad,

Where exactly have you been stuck for all these years?

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 6:28 PM as a reply to Simon L.
"In AF you set out to reach a specific goal and do things to create a situation that is not already true"




I thought the idea was to be what you actually are in the world as it actually is? How can what actually is be "not already true"?
Or am I confused about something?

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/26/11 10:26 PM as a reply to Nad A..
Nad A.:
ed c:

@ Nad -
Nad A.:
but then again nothing seems to work for me anyway.


I have often wondered what makes you keep reading here given nothing has worked for so many years. Don’t take that the wrong way. I appreciate your posts and their logical, practical nature. You don’t seem be trying to argue with people just to get them to see things your way. You seem to genuinely want to understand other views. Does it feel like there is a missing piece to the puzzle you’ll find here one day that will tie everything together? I ask because "my" issue is giving up too quickly and moving on. Whatever "you" have, "I" need. emoticon


It's simply the memory of my PCE that keeps me here and keeps nagging me about actualism.


Heh same here. Although currently I'm trying a different way of looking at my approach that seems to be working a little better, it's too early to tell for sure. Very little of the actualism advice has been useful to me other than Tarin pointing out what is obvious in hindsight (if something isn't working then try something else).

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/27/11 7:37 AM as a reply to Brian Eleven.
Brian Eleven:
"In AF you set out to reach a specific goal and do things to create a situation that is not already true"




I thought the idea was to be what you actually are in the world as it actually is? How can what actually is be "not already true"?
Or am I confused about something?


Well, I admit, the phrasing is confusing. It's about taking away the identity inhabiting the body, this identity being actually there. This identity is overshadowing what you already are.

So it has to be actively taken away to create the experience of actual freedom.

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/30/11 6:49 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:


ed c:
1) In Direct pointing you are not feelings. So you would not investigate in such a manner to say “I am anger”, “I am joy”. The opposite would be true, this anger is not me.

maybe reading nick's explanation would help, which contrasts practice which aims for 4th path with practice which aims for AF.


Great information!
Here are the most relevant parts that Nick is describing relating directly to the issue raised:

For me, the big difference between insight practice and PCE/AF practice is, rather than dis-identifying and stepping back from phenomena to look at it from a disenchanted, dispassionate angle, one claims and accepts those feelings as "me". One does not dis-identify them as "I". This is regardless of whether "I" is seen to be illusory or not. (my bolding)

On both the insight and AF paths, the self is seen as illusory. On the insight path, you see this via the 3 characteristics. On the AF path, you see this via the PCE with the absence of self/sense of "being". The AF path seems to take it one step further with the sense of "being" being seen through and lead to oblivion/self-immolation. I'm not sure if the insight path takes it this far. I could be wrong.


Clearly the difference in the relationship to feelings is totally different and this is a large, tangible part of the confusion that arises for me when engaging in AF “practice” after the direct pointing experience. So I guess on that level I need to investigate further the truth of this for “me” because it appears there are solid landing points regardless of how you relate to feelings (not self or part of self) so it seems inevitable that one will be influenced to find the truth that is sought.

But that now seems manageable, tangible, and as part of the writing process was noted as probably secondary to the confusion related to the subtle shift in base perception of what “I” am.

It’s very hard to explain because there is almost always still a solid sense of self, a witness, but that feeling of “I” is very often different. I would say it’s more like “I am still here” but floating, not really part of the mind or body. Like I sometimes perceive that “I” am independent from mind and body. So in the past if I was walking and thinking I might arrive at my destination and note that “I was lost in thought the whole walk”, nothing odd about it. Now it’s more like there was true separation. That the mind and body walked while I was perceived to be “thinking” independently. Granted “I” don’t think, but that’s the perception and it’s distinct from other parts of me, Ed. It’s creepy.

I remember reading a post from Bruno many months back and he said something about sometimes having this odd sense that life might be a dream or something (paraphrasing). I found that very strange and couldn’t relate to it. Now I have what might be a similar experience. It’s not pleasant. Visually things look different, less real. There is a texture to reality that is different, experience feels different and I can’t shake it.

Sometimes I think it’s literally all in my head. Nothing has really changed. Hell I can’t even articulate what the fucking difference is without resorting to metaphors so how can anything really be different? This gives rise to doubt. Why is this perceived shift not accompanied by any lessoning of attachments, despair and other emotions? I am actually slightly more concerned with how “I” feel; more concerned with how “I” appear to others. Situations at work of wanting to be valued are more bothersome than 3 months ago. Why do “I” seem to be contracting, regressing? Being more emotional, less able to let go? I’m sick of thinking about this, truly. Arrrggghhhh..Enough for now…

Lost in “Lost” Angeles…

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/30/11 7:24 PM as a reply to ed c.
ed c:
For me, the big difference between insight practice and PCE/AF practice is, rather than dis-identifying and stepping back from phenomena to look at it from a disenchanted, dispassionate angle, one claims and accepts those feelings as "me". One does not dis-identify them as "I". This is regardless of whether "I" is seen to be illusory or not. (my bolding)

On both the insight and AF paths, the self is seen as illusory. On the insight path, you see this via the 3 characteristics. On the AF path, you see this via the PCE with the absence of self/sense of "being". The AF path seems to take it one step further with the sense of "being" being seen through and lead to oblivion/self-immolation. I'm not sure if the insight path takes it this far. I could be wrong.


Hi ed,

I wrote the above a few months back I think before I heard about how Jill got af, via vipassana (seeing in the right way). And So did I, via vipassana and attentiveness to sensuousness in the jhanas. Though the above description could help one get on with af practice by accepting and taking on the important notion of 'I' am my feelings and my feelings are 'me' rather than getting sidetracked with the whole insight vs AF debate.

Nick

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/30/11 8:25 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nick -
Are you saying you are AF now?

The intention was not to get side tracked on a debate of insight vs. AF. I’m not interested in starting a debate especially since I know less about insight or AF than most people here. It’s just becoming clear that’s part of the issue I was raising as confusing now.

Rather, I’m trying to figure out how to pick up "my AF practice" after some shift in the sense of self from this direct pointing experience? It is clear now part of the confusion is in relation to the “feelings” distinction, but it’s also now clear it’s more about the shifting or unclear sense of self.

Ed

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/31/11 8:01 AM as a reply to ed c.
Hi ed,

I meant the debate in one's own head rather than poster versus poster. I also went through the same thing. You seem to be working it out by yourself, which is best. Keep at it.

Try asking yourself "Who am I?". You may have seen through the illusion somewhat with your RT work, but see what you feel when you ask that question. Ask it again and again and see how the experience manifests. You might get a felt reply of "I AM!",

See how it feels as that "I AM". Is there a mood to it? See if you can just really 'be' that "I AM" even though you saw through some part of this illusion with the RT work. Use the illusion as a vehicle. Once you get a feel for this "I AM' and the mood that accompanies it, see if you can remember the last time you felt a really calm relaxed sense of wellbeing, and as that "I AM" decide to manifest as that very same sense of wellbeing. Just decide as that "I AM" to become felicity.

Put aside the idea that you need to blow the "I AM" out of the water with insight and focus on using the illusion as a vehicle to become felicity.. From that felicitous "I AM", attentiveness to sensuousness will be easier to do. At AF it gets blown out for good

Nick

RE: Direct Pointing (no self) and AF
Answer
8/31/11 9:30 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi Nick,
Got it, will give it a shot!

Thanks,
Ed