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Was that me?
Answer
6/11/13 6:25 AM
So I've returned to a deeper practice again and recognized something that I don't understand.

The teaching of "If it can be observed then it is not you" seems to be deeply paradoxical. It's not too often that I get so caught up in my random thoughts that I think they are me, or that I am them, but body sensations are different. Just recently I was relieved to realized that the anxious feeling in me is not 'me', but instead a sensation that happens to be in my body at that time.

I'm reminded of another teaching, that when you take away thoughts and sensations, what's left? What's observing?

But these teaching have put me in a place of duality, if my thought's are not me and my body sensations are not me then there is the suggestion that me is the observer watching all these things happen. Clearly my body sensations are me in some sense, as are my thought, in so much as they simply can not not be me. Is this a simple matter of these sensations being me, but not identifying with them as me, as solid components?

And don't get me started on trying to understand the observer!! haha! emoticon

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/11/13 8:28 AM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Kenny Whitman:
So I've returned to a deeper practice again and recognized something that I don't understand.

The teaching of "If it can be observed then it is not you" seems to be deeply paradoxical. It's not too often that I get so caught up in my random thoughts that I think they are me, or that I am them, but body sensations are different. Just recently I was relieved to realized that the anxious feeling in me is not 'me', but instead a sensation that happens to be in my body at that time.

I'm reminded of another teaching, that when you take away thoughts and sensations, what's left? What's observing?

But these teaching have put me in a place of duality, if my thought's are not me and my body sensations are not me then there is the suggestion that me is the observer watching all these things happen. Clearly my body sensations are me in some sense, as are my thought, in so much as they simply can not not be me. Is this a simple matter of these sensations being me, but not identifying with them as me, as solid components?

And don't get me started on trying to understand the observer!! haha! emoticon


A very clever way to disentagle the mind from assigning a felt sense of self to phenomena is to consider which of the 5 aggregates is being assigned the sense of 'observer', and then note it like so.

In my experience, there was a sensation on my foot, yet a felt sense of observer to that sensation, or a sense of observer to the thought, or to the image or to whatever. When I looked closer and was patient with what was being observed as well as dispationate about a felt sense of 'self', suddenly I could see that it was actually at times simply a sensation (on my foot) and another sensation (in my head behind my eyes for example), or a sensation (on my foot) and a thought (of me), or a sensation and an image (of me), or thought and another thought, or a thought and an image, a thought and a sensation, an image and another image, an image and a sensation, an image and a thought etc. And rather than simply running with the assumption that the image or sensation or thought feels like 'self', I simply ignored that strong felt sense of that being a self, and noted it as it really was....an image, a thought, a sensation with feeling tone.

Doing this continuously, soemthing began to happen. That felt sense of some aspect of the body or mind being felt as 'self' would not arise, and what I was noting was simply an 'image', a 'sensation', a 'thoguht' without any sense it was felt to be a 'self'. It was a fake it till i made it type approach. Note the phenomenon being read as self as an aggregate, and direct the mind to start seeing it simply as so. Eventually the mind cottoned on. And when that felt sense of 'beig a self' dropped, an unimaginable peace presented, and images, sensations and thoughts were nothing more than that. Pay attention to that phenomenon till it is actually seen as it is....an image, a thought, a sensation. Note it to re-enforce this training and recognition.

It worked for me, it may work for you.

Nick

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/11/13 1:26 PM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Thanks for your replies. The five aggregates are new to me, although I recognize that I have explored them in meditation without the specific teaching. I see that it is the aggregate of intention that I have attached the image of I to. I think at some point I have subconsciously taking various teachings and weaved a new story for my sense of self, and even just the recognition seems to have brought more of a sense of space in which to meditate emoticon

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/11/13 5:19 PM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Here is a link where I am exploring the selfing process and enlightenment
The self subroutine elimination
I just started working on the The five aggregates or Skandhas. I am going to try to pull them into the selfing model and see what happens....I'm probably just reinventing the buddha wheel but I need to build it so I can understand it.

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/26/13 5:45 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


A very clever way to disentagle the mind from assigning a felt sense of self to phenomena is to consider which of the 5 aggregates is being assigned the sense of 'observer', and then note it like so.

In my experience, there was a sensation on my foot, yet a felt sense of observer to that sensation, or a sense of observer to the thought, or to the image or to whatever. When I looked closer and was patient with what was being observed as well as dispationate about a felt sense of 'self', suddenly I could see that it was actually at times simply a sensation (on my foot) and another sensation (in my head behind my eyes for example), or a sensation (on my foot) and a thought (of me), or a sensation and an image (of me), or thought and another thought, or a thought and an image, a thought and a sensation, an image and another image, an image and a sensation, an image and a thought etc. And rather than simply running with the assumption that the image or sensation or thought feels like 'self', I simply ignored that strong felt sense of that being a self, and noted it as it really was....an image, a thought, a sensation with feeling tone.


Hey Nick,

Thanks for the post above. I’ve been wrestling with it conceptually for a few days as I try to put it into practice, but I’m having some trouble and am hoping you’ll explain a little.

It looks like you’re saying that in a situation where there is a piece of sense-data, like a sensation on my foot, there is often, but not always, a corresponding piece of sense-data with a “felt sense of observer” to it. Let me know if I’ve gotten this wrong, but so far, I think I’m with you.

Where I get confused is where you suggest noting “the phenomenon being read as self as an aggregate, and direct the mind to start seeing it simply as so.” Do you mean “bare noting”, like “aggregate” or “not-self”, or; do you mean something more complex, like which specific aggregate it is? Also, what do yo mean by “direct the mind to start seeing it simply as so”?

Any clarifying explanations or examples would be much appreciated.

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/26/13 7:16 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks for that Nikolai. Could you actually give a short description of what that would look like for each of the 5 aggregates? I think an exact knowledge of each one could do wonders for people trying to figure this stuff out.

Metta,
Oliver

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/26/13 8:39 PM as a reply to Mike Knapp.
Mike Knapp:

It looks like you’re saying that in a situation where there is a piece of sense-data, like a sensation on my foot, there is often, but not always, a corresponding piece of sense-data with a “felt sense of observer” to it. Let me know if I’ve gotten this wrong, but so far, I think I’m with you.


Correct.

]Where I get confused is where you suggest noting “the phenomenon being read as self as an aggregate, and direct the mind to start seeing it simply as so.” Do you mean “bare noting”, like “aggregate” or “not-self”, or; do you mean something more complex, like which specific aggregate it is? Also, what do yo mean by “direct the mind to start seeing it simply as so”?

Any clarifying explanations or examples would be much appreciated.



I mean noticing and then noting/labeling what is being blindly assigned a 'sense of being self'. notice that it is nothing other than one or more of the aggregates i.e. a sense consiousness i.e. sound, sight, smell, physical sensation, with feeling tone (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral) or thought (image or string of words, a word, belief, view, mental overlay/projection/proliferation), as well as any 'urges' to act/fabricate/proliferate. Such 'urges' in my experience are the hardest to catch as they are occuring a million miles per second at all times. Sitting still with the intention to notice what initiates any action of body speech or mind helps. In my experience, they were sensations that if not observed dispationately would trigger acts of body speech or mind.

The 5 aggregates in a nutshell with some overlap (rupa-the physical and nama-the mental-feeling tone, consciousness, volitional urges, perception). All the below are wrapped up neatly under 'nama and rupa'.

Nama & Rupa

The physical sense doors (sound, sight, smell, touch and other physical sensations)
Physical sensations within and on the surface of body.
The feeling tone that accompanies sensations of any kind ( pleasant, unpleasant, neutral)
Thought and all its possible manifestations (image, string of images, word, string of words, mental overlays, beliefs, manner of holding any object/s, views, mental proliferation, fabrication, mental projection)
Urges to act via body, speech but more importantly mind. Mind comes first.

When you see what is being noted like so, you can also notice at the same time that such phenomena arise and pass continuously, and arise and pass without any help from a supposed 'self' and to take any of it as pertaining to a supposed 'self' simply sucks. Noting will make the mind honest about what it is noticing. There is no sense of self in any of it. If there is a felt sense of being self, look closer at the qualities of the phenomenon being blindly assigned such a title. Does it arise and pass continuously, does it stay the same, stay in the same location, does it move about, morph, change, shift about, never staying static? And if so, does it do all of this continuous movement and dissapearing acts with or without any help from a 'you'?

Nick

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/26/13 9:00 PM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Kenny Whitman:
Thanks for your replies. The five aggregates are new to me, although I recognize that I have explored them in meditation without the specific teaching. I see that it is the aggregate of intention that I have attached the image of I to. I think at some point I have subconsciously taking various teachings and weaved a new story for my sense of self, and even just the recognition seems to have brought more of a sense of space in which to meditate emoticon


This post of mine in another thread might add to your practice. I would also read The Direct Path by Analayo (where this came from). There's lots of good advice there:

Richard Zen:
I'm practicing with the aggregates again (not mine, not I, not my self) and trying to get in more detail.

So here are the 5:

1. Matter (Where I am)
2. Feeling tone (How I am)
3. Recognition/Perception (What I am perceiving)
4. Volitional formations (Why I am acting)
5. Consciousness (Whereby I am experiencing)

x 4

1. The aggregate is a self
2. The self possesses the aggregate
3. The aggregate is inside the self
4. The self is inside the aggregate

So 20 forms of self. The #2 on the second list is interesting in that it is similar to #3 but it simply possesses the aggregate instead of the aggregate being located inside the self. I think that focusses on the "mine" aspect of clinging.


Consciousness is a difficult one to note but an important one. Consciousness is simply the knowing part of your mind that knows you're seeing/thinking/smelling etc. The fact that you can posit a self for consciousness means you can't posit one for thinking unless you believe in two selves. So this includes very subtle things that consciousness can be aware of, like intentions, like intention to meditate, or the intention to pay attention. Consciousness is a hard one but if you look at how consciousness can only be conscious of SOMETHING, then you can see how interdependent it is with the external world leaving no external or internal. If you fade your senses with concentration practice you can cut off the consciousness from objects and lose consciousness briefly. If you notice the automatic quality of your sense organs and how effortless the sense data provides you with consciousness and how there is no "you" in there and there's no "you" that contains it, then you should shake up that belief. You have to give time to the practice because it does take awhile for the brain to get used to it.

Make sure you notice a sense of self that is meditating and let go of that as well to get deeper relief and (in my experience) no sense of self for periods of time. You'll know you're adding another fake self when you feel the similar dislike or criticism of the present moment as in craving or aversion in other situtations. It just simply has aversion for your current meditation practice instead. Craving is a sneaky bugger. emoticon

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/26/13 9:28 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
@ Nick: Thanks for fleshing that out for me - very helpful!

RE: Was that me?
Answer
6/28/13 8:15 PM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Kenny Whitman:
So I've returned to a deeper practice again and recognized something that I don't understand.

The teaching of "If it can be observed then it is not you" seems to be deeply paradoxical. It's not too often that I get so caught up in my random thoughts that I think they are me, or that I am them, but body sensations are different. Just recently I was relieved to realized that the anxious feeling in me is not 'me', but instead a sensation that happens to be in my body at that time.

I'm reminded of another teaching, that when you take away thoughts and sensations, what's left? What's observing?

But these teaching have put me in a place of duality, if my thought's are not me and my body sensations are not me then there is the suggestion that me is the observer watching all these things happen. Clearly my body sensations are me in some sense, as are my thought, in so much as they simply can not not be me. Is this a simple matter of these sensations being me, but not identifying with them as me, as solid components?

And don't get me started on trying to understand the observer!! haha! emoticon


"We are so conditioned, so heavily burdened with the past, with all our knowledge, information how can the mind be spontaneous? Can the mind observe its activity without prejudice, which means without images?

When there is a division between the observer and the observed there is conflict but when the observer is the
observed there is no control, no suppression. The self comes to an end. Duality comes to an end. Conflict comes to an end.

This is the greatest meditation to come upon this extraordinary thing for the mind to discover for itself the observer is the observed."

- Jiddu Krishnamurti 2nd Public Dialogue, Brockwood Park, England, 6th Sept. 1973

RE: Was that me?
Answer
9/21/13 6:25 AM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
Thanks for your replies and detailed explanations of the 5 aggregates. At some level there is vague recognition of that which you speak, but I am currently getting lost in the words and understanding what they mean, and struggling to line them up exactly with the experience / insight.

I have come to a vague and general recognition that none of these things are 'me' in the form of a solid self, like the evidence I've seen so far is enough to make me let go of attempting to try to construct one. But I see that I need to study the 5 aggregates more deeply in meditation and truly touch each one so that I deeply understand that each is phenomena, else it is just a matter of time before I start thinking this or that might be me again.

RE: Was that me?
Answer
9/21/13 7:27 AM as a reply to Kenny Whitman.
I just found this online study guide about the 5 aggregates, I'm finding it excellent!

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/khandha.html