"Who is doing this?" noting practice

Andrew K, modified 11 Years ago at 1/12/13 2:59 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 1/9/13 7:06 PM

"Who is doing this?" noting practice

Posts: 52 Join Date: 2/27/12 Recent Posts

The past few days, somewhat spontaneously, I got myself into some somewhat altered states, the main notable characteristic of which was that "everything" appeared to be happening of its own accord, including intentions, thoughts, all movements of my body, just about any activity I could witness. This seemed to be a clear(ish) view of what is meant when people say that the self is an illusion. The practice of surrendering makes sense in this context too. It basically felt like taking a big step backwards so i could see more of the processes that are going on. I got into this space by trying to find where my mind was, on a purely sensation level. Everything that I might have previously assumed to be part of my mind appeared to be infact just a body sensation. So from the point of view of just observing body sensations, my mind didn't exist, and a sense of "I" disappeared with that. There were still thoughts, intentions, reactions, the whole slew of experiences, just no "I" taking credit for them. "My" identity had shifted to take on the entire field of sensations. From a developmental perspective, lower being identified with the body like a child, and higher being identified with the mind like an adult, this feels like taking a step even higher up, identifying as "consciousness", not identifying with either the body nor mind, and thus seeing the movements of both with more clarity.

After hanging out in this space almost effortlessly for an hour or two, and thinking about it (it wasn't a "mind-less" state at all) and playing with it (lots of laughing and fun at imagining how easy life could possible be if lived from this place) reality appeared to me as a sort of vast intricate sorting machine, the entire universe, including all our inner world stuff (which isn't really inner at all, as all "inner" stuff like thoughts and beliefs and mind and everything are basically the way physical things are expressed to consciousness)) appears like a sort of "possibility" machine where every single energetic pattern/causation-response that is possible must play itself out, all as a huge journey of evolving complexity, infinite yins and yangs all bouncing off each other attempting to balance everything out, spiralling into life or death or higher or lower forms to suit the equations, at the level of sensations, on an instant-by-instant basis, with no real agency on behalf of any of its occupants, except there is of course agency and free will in the way ordinarily defined (those being just more ways that the patterns play out), because these concepts can't really stretch to describe the entire universe.

From this place, it appears that all thoughts and intentions are "decided" before "I" become aware of them, but "I" takes credit for them, thus perpetuating its own existance. Thoughts are self-justifying in this sense.

Body-scanning vipassana doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere recently, but this last stuff seems to be a step forward. It feels like I havn't made progress in a while and this might be the way forward. It's very interesting at least.

The easiest way I've found to see this so far is to ask "Who is doing this?" (this thinking, moving, intending, etc) and not accepting "I" as an answer, noting it as just another thought. I begin to get a feeling for the automaticness of everything once I note the "I" response and discard it. And then noting "moving, moving" etc.

My questions:

Is this a good practice? My instincts tell me that seeing this is the way forward for me. Is this practice related to any other practices (such as Ramana Maharashi's Who Am I? inquiry) that might work better, or is there any way I should tweak this to get better results?

My reason for posting it in the 2nd and 3rd path sub-forum is that while reading page 280 of MCTB, I fit the description of a second pather. What are some other practices that second pathers should do? In some ways, it feels like what I am aiming for right now is actually Daniel Ingram's description of a third pather, "seeing the emptiness, selflessness [...] of sensations in daily life and begin to see that they have the ability to do this". edit: im not a third pather
I understand what is meant by the emptiness and luminosity of sensations, but it's not something i see often in daily life, the times I've seen that have been specific and when doing the practice I mentioned, luminosity doesn't seem to show up very much (but emptiness and selflessness do).

Thanks a lot for any comments!