No Observer

Pavel Oulik, modified 11 Years ago.

No Observer

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
I have just finished reading MCTB again but there is one experience I have had which I have not found a diagnosis for, an experience which seems to link in to my current perception of things, hence the curiosity.

Basically, just before I really got into doing insight on the cushion, I used to do a bit of Shinzen Young's Sight/Sound/Touch noting while walking outdoors. One day, while walking home and noting, I looked up onto the road and my perception of it somehow came into the foreground with any sense of me, my body, my mind, or a sense of observer, disappearing. There was only the view and while it was being observed and there was the experience of it being observed, there was no one doing the observing, no one aware of the observing being done and yet there was awareness of it, but nothing more or else. This lasted only a short moment and repeated once more a couple of days later, never since.

Yesterday, while doing vipassana at home my neighbours were playing loud music in the room next to mine, which I happily included in my noting. At one moment I realized that I was aware of hearing the music twice - once while it occurred and a second time when I knew that it occurred. In other words, there was the experience of the music, followed by the knowledge of the experience of the music. This insight put some things into perspective for me, as for a couple of days now I have been wondering what was strange about my perception of sight and sound in real time. The thing that was strange was that it somehow seemed as if at first there was the awareness of something, followed by something/someone being there to experience it. In other words, there was an immediacy of experience followed by someone quite rudely crashing the party and being actively aware of what was being observed, the flavour of the experience changing in that there was an addition to the experience itself.

Could someone please offer some help on this one?
Trent H., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 361 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Greetings,

Pavel:
This lasted only a short moment and repeated once more a couple of days later, never since.


This could be an A&P event, which is mentioned in MCTB... but since you say you have not found anything of the such described, perhaps you would find this to be of interest: (http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/pce.htm). I am guessing that most people would not know the difference in experiencing the two, and would very much confuse the two depending on the context of one's path, one's intent with one's practice, and one's background in these matters, and so forth. To the point, I had a PCE during 2nd path and wrote it off as something Siddhi related or perhaps a "weird A&P," only to find out later that it was a completely different and distinct state. The finding-out of such was done a good month or so after attaining arhatship, which is significant for a few reasons I won't go into.

Pavel:
The thing that was strange was that it somehow seemed as if at first there was the awareness of something, followed by something/someone being there to experience it. In other words, there was an immediacy of experience followed by someone quite rudely crashing the party and being actively aware of what was being observed, the flavour of the experience changing in that there was an addition to the experience itself.


Ponder this and see if it is reasonable: the first awareness was the body's sensuous awareness; it is the body's actual physical awareness of the actual wave of sound entering the physical ear drum. The second is one's self identifying and/or representing the sound to itself, as if to "echo" the actual sound to itself to check to see if any reaction is necessary based on one's identity (such that if it was a sound of screaming, the echo may cause fear to well up). Note that enlightenment will not remove this identity as to be a bare awareness (what is witnessed in a PCE), but instead it will shift it from being a personal identity to an impersonal identity (the nature of this process is universal, whereas the content of what is identified with would be idiosyncratic). The impersonal identity typically makes much less a fuss about what it finds, and so may be less "rude" and perhaps more predisposed to "partying nicely," but I would recommend getting rid of the whole mess altogether.

Perhaps that helps you, but I won't say more as it is really up to you to digest and then decide what to do with the information provided.

Regards,
Trent
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the prisoner greco, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Pavel:


Basically, just before I really got into doing insight on the cushion, I used to do a bit of Shinzen Young's Sight/Sound/Touch noting while walking outdoors. One day, while walking home and noting, I looked up onto the road and my perception of it somehow came into the foreground with any sense of me, my body, my mind, or a sense of observer, disappearing. There was only the view and while it was being observed and there was the experience of it being observed, there was no one doing the observing, no one aware of the observing being done and yet there was awareness of it, but nothing more or else. This lasted only a short moment and repeated once more a couple of days later, never since.



hi pavel,

can you say more about the experience? is there anything else you can recall about it aside from the sense of the observer being absent from the experience - perhaps some qualitative aspects you could put words to?

tarin
Pavel Oulik, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
can you say more about the experience? is there anything else you can recall about it aside from the sense of the observer being absent from the experience - perhaps some qualitative aspects you could put words to?


Okay, will try. Imagine watching a film where the main character comes onto the screen, so that there is the character and the background (the scene). Then the character vanishes and there is just the scene. That is precisely how it occurred, except that I was the main character (who was experiencing the scene) and when it all occurred, I ended up still watching the film (from the same vantage point) but there were no eyes, no mind, no body, nothing doing the watching. The best I can describe it is that reality still existed, it was being observed (I had the knowledge of it being observed) but I have no idea who/what was doing the observing or how I knew about it (this sort of wondering/questioning only came after the experience finished).

There was also a sort of perceptual sliding movement from 'me' to the picture/scene/background itself that then became everything (with any form of 'me' not being there at all). Re-reading what i wrote, I think that this is the most important point I have remembered to include, this perceptual movement from watching to the watched.

Does it make any sense?
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the prisoner greco, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
Pavel:
can you say more about the experience? is there anything else you can recall about it aside from the sense of the observer being absent from the experience - perhaps some qualitative aspects you could put words to?


Okay, will try. Imagine watching a film where the main character comes onto the screen, so that there is the character and the background (the scene). Then the character vanishes and there is just the scene. That is precisely how it occurred, except that I was the main character (who was experiencing the scene) and when it all occurred, I ended up still watching the film (from the same vantage point) but there were no eyes, no mind, no body, nothing doing the watching. The best I can describe it is that reality still existed, it was being observed (I had the knowledge of it being observed) but I have no idea who/what was doing the observing or how I knew about it (this sort of wondering/questioning only came after the experience finished).

There was also a sort of perceptual sliding movement from 'me' to the picture/scene/background itself that then became everything (with any form of 'me' not being there at all). Re-reading what i wrote, I think that this is the most important point I have remembered to include, this perceptual movement from watching to the watched.

Does it make any sense?


yes, possibly.

do you recall how you perceived time? do you recall anything about your sense of perceptual boundaries?

about how long did it last - was it only as long as you stood there, or was it long enough for you to resume walking during that state? and what were you doing the other time it happened, when it 'repeated once more a couple of days later'?
Pavel Oulik, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
do you recall how you perceived time? do you recall anything about your sense of perceptual boundaries?

about how long did it last - was it only as long as you stood there, or was it long enough for you to resume walking during that state? and what were you doing the other time it happened, when it 'repeated once more a couple of days later'?


I believe that time went on (ie. when compared to the blip out that I had months ago, or something like being under the effect of a global anesthetic where time disappears, the perception of time seemed not to change, yet there was noone/nothing perceiving it). Perception was kind of panoramic, yet if I remember correctly I did not see what I would not have been able to see before (ie. behind trees, or the horizon, or what was behind me).

I was walking during the state I think (I don't remember stopping) but I could have done (it would make sense given that I wasn't even aware of my own existence). The second time it happened I was walking in a park with a friend so it is much less likely that I stopped (I was almost certainly walking during it but I don't think that I was aware of this being the case).

I am not at all certain what I was doing prior to the second time as I was walking and talking with a friend (which for me is hugely immersive). I generally do something insight related on and off the whole time (ie. walking meditation, paying attention to which one of the senses I am currently experiencing, identifying emotions and their location, or noting thought) so it is possible that something of this sort preceded the experience.

The first time it lasted seconds (more than the split second of a blip out), the second time it was less pronounced, shorter and less vibrant.
Trent H., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 361 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Pavel:
The first time it lasted seconds (more than the split second of a blip out), the second time it was less pronounced, shorter and less vibrant.


When you say that it was less vibrant, can you recall perchance what it was specifically that was less vibrant? For instance, was it the emotions, the senses, your sense of awareness itself, all of these, or other? And also, do you literally mean vibrance ("exciting; stimulating; lively"), and/or could another word(s) be used to describe the quality?
Pavel Oulik, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
When you say that it was less vibrant, can you recall perchance what it was specifically that was less vibrant? For instance, was it the emotions, the senses, your sense of awareness itself, all of these, or other? And also, do you literally mean vibrance ("exciting; stimulating; lively"), and/or could another word(s) be used to describe the quality?


This is pushing my memory to its limits. The reason I am less able to answer in regards to the second occurrence is that it was less memorable, it had less of an impact. It shared the same characteristics but for some reason did not stick to my memory quite as much as the first one. Less intense would probably do as much as less vibrant (but then again, I am not certain in what way it was less intense). Perhaps less engaging. I am not even certain I could speak of emotions in regards to it, also there were no senses other than the awareness of it itself. Yes, there was a certain pleasantness, purity and immediacy but I don't think that I would use the word emotion as a description as this feeling was not felt in the way that emotions are (it was a part of it).

The more information I give the less certain I am about its accuracy as I try to recall what exactly occurred and perhaps fill in the holes with inaccurate descriptions. Nevertheless, if there are any other questions that may help in distinguishing what exactly it was, I am more than happy to try.
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the prisoner greco, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
sure sounds like a pce to me (though i say this with no absolute certainty). this theory is based on the following factors, drawn directly from your descriptions (and with my commentary/explanation in parentheses):

-time went on (as this actually happened here and now in this space and time, on this actual earth, to that actual body)
-there was noone/nothing perceiving it (there was no being - no sense of self - anywhere in the experience)
-Perception was kind of panoramic (as it is with no being blocking or blinding it)
-hugely immersive (the way that perception of the actual world actually is)
-This is pushing my memory to its limits (as the memory of it only resides in cognitive memory, and not at all in affective - emotional - memory, which is often dominant)
-I am not certain in what way [the second experience] was less intense [than the first] (implying an uncanny intensity at least in the first)
-I am not even certain I could speak of emotions in regards to it (because no emotions were present)
-there was a certain pleasantness, purity and immediacy (the way the actual world actually is)

so the question is ... what do you want to do with these memories, these glimpses of an experience so vibrant, engaged, immersive, panoramic, pure, and immediate? would you want to live like that forever (do you think it's a good idea to).. and if so, do you think it's actually possible?

tarin

ps did you detect even a trace of suffering in it?
Pavel Oulik, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: No Observer

Posts: 88 Join Date: 1/20/10 Recent Posts
did you detect even a trace of suffering in it?


None.

so the question is ... what do you want to do with these memories, these glimpses of an experience so vibrant, engaged, immersive, panoramic, pure, and immediate? would you want to live like that forever (do you think it's a good idea to).. and if so, do you think it's actually possible?


I dont have an answer to this. I will add actual freedom to my reading list and see if I can learn more. I believe that I somehow understand what insight does and what it is for and I am very passionate about seeing that through. The better I get at it, the more I feel I understand what it is to be a human being. Whereas, if it is possible to permanently stay in that state of pure and immediate presence/awareness, that is so far removed from normal experience that I can not even imagine how it would be to stay in it for longer than a few moments. I do not think that there is anything wrong with stepping above/beyond/around our humanity (if that is what it is - is it?) but I do not know whether it is for me.