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Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 12:50 PM
I have been thinking a lot lately about the awareness of selfing. Daniel writes
of the blink where a self-referential thought arises between phenomena
appearing at a sense door and our awareness of it.   Rob Burbea's book
tells about learning to be conscious of selfing, the creation of a self arising
every moment. Have you found meditation techniques that zero in on this issue?
Or does this awareness arise as a result of regular meditation practice?

I have tried binary noting where the notes either self-referential or not. I have been unable to distinguish
self-referential thoughts from non self-referential thoughts. Is being embedded the same as a self-referential thought? I notice I posted on this two
years ago. (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5574067)

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 4:18 PM as a reply to Jack Hatfield.
For the conscious mind to discern the 'selfing' process (called 'attachment-becoming-birth' in Dependent Origination), ideally, the mind must first be empty & clear, i.e., free from 'selfing'. This probably requires an extended period of regular (intensive) meditation practise & would particularly require focusing upon the empty mind, i.e., focusing upon the natural clarity-brightness of consciousness-awareness (rather than on the selfing process itself). 

At least in the ancient books, priority was given to 'samadhi' development, which is a pure, clear, thoughtless mind. From 'samadhi' development naturally can arise the 'fruit' of insight, including insight into 'selfing'. 

'Fruit' cannot be grown directly. Only seed or a tree can be grown directly. The fruit grows by itself on the tree. Similarly, meditation can directly focus upon emptying the mind's contents; upon letting go. In that emptying, there can come a point when the 'selfing' processing is discerned; arising or 'popping' out of that empty space. 

But for the 'self' to discern 'selfing', that is probably not possible. 

Kind regards 

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 3:22 PM as a reply to Jack Hatfield.
Jack Hatfield:
I have been thinking a lot lately about the awareness of selfing. Daniel writes
of the blink where a self-referential thought arises between phenomena
appearing at a sense door and our awareness of it.   Rob Burbea's book
tells about learning to be conscious of selfing, the creation of a self arising
every moment. Have you found meditation techniques that zero in on this issue?
Or does this awareness arise as a result of regular meditation practice?

I have tried binary noting where the notes either self-referential or not. I have been unable to distinguish
self-referential thoughts from non self-referential thoughts. Is being embedded the same as a self-referential thought? I notice I posted on this two
years ago. (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5574067)

Hello Jack,

Try this.

Have your eyes open and be normally. Don't mind about meditation or concentration in any particular way. Forget you ever heard of such things. Just try what I suggest and see how it goes.

I-less mode: Look at some object as you naturally would, whatever you have in front of you. Figuratively speaking there is like a beam of light  which travels through your eye balls through the air to the object that you're looking at. Now. Don't get hung up or become occupied with the object which is what usually happens when we look at things. Instead, when the beam goes out from your eyes and touches the object, imagine that the same beam is instantly reflected right back to your eyes and beyond them to the center of your head where the beam originally came from. Play with this simple technique and see if something happens. It's like hitting a tennis ball to the wall in front of you where it bounces back from. Simple. Observe what happens in your mind/awareness when the beam/ball reaches back at the eyes/head. If you are not sure, do it again and agai to clarify it.
Now. By doing this your mind becomes silent and the so called open awareness which knows itself becomes obvious, a living experience. Recognise this mode of being. Feel how it is. Marinate in that. Enjoy it. Relax in it. Then continue to the following questions.
Is there anyone there? Is there anyone looking? Anyone seeing? Are "you" there? Am "I" here? See if you can find anybody there, in this openly aware mind-mode. If needed, do this experiment many times in many situations, let the light beam of looking be reflected back to where it came from and see if "you" are there to experience it. Clarify to yourself if there is "I/me" there.
The same thing can be done with listening/ears. You can also find out if there is me in touching or whether self-entity is absent. These simple exercises show you the I-less mode of awareness. See and feel how this selfless open mind space is like. How is it like? Is "I/me" anywhere to be found? Study and investigate it to make I-less mode a living experience. It's not far away or difficult, you just have to apply these exercises. Don't be casual about it. Pay attention.

I-based mode: Now, second step is about the I-based mode. Once you have mode observations of the first I-less mode do this affirmation and say to yourself aloud: "I, I, I, I, I" or "me, me, me, me, me" referring to yourself as you normally do in daily life. See what happens. After affirming the I-thought artificially like this, see how it feels like in your body and mind.
Where the sensation is the strongest? Where is this "I" located? You affirmed your "self-ness" or "me-ness" so momentarily you can feel what it is, how it feels like, what it is about. Make observations. Does it hurt? Is it natural? What is all this stuff that comes up with the affirmation? Zoom in to the core of the I-sensation, zoom out of it, look at it from different angles, become aware of what your I means to yourself. Feel the open mind space around this sense of I, both the vast space around it as well as the immediate space around it, close to it.
When your sense of me-ness (subject self) is made to an object like this, it is possible to become aware of it and see it just how it is. Usually people say their "I" is a bundle of thoughts, emotions, dreams, memories, hopes, fears, wishes and so on, just a bundle of thoughts. It becomes stripped off by doing this. This means that the dualistic charge from you self/I/me becomes neutralised.

Seen I/me (second mode) from open awareness (first mode), using both modes alternatively and creatively, is the most direct and fastest way to strip off the sense of me and become awakened in an irreversible manner. It works well when you apply it properly. Many people have awakened using it.

Cheers,
Kim

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 3:50 PM as a reply to Jack Hatfield.
Jack Hatfield:

1) I have been thinking a lot lately about the awareness of selfing.

What have you been thinking? What is awareness, and what is selfing?
Jack Hatfield:

2) Daniel writes of the blink where a self-referential thought arises between phenomena appearing at a sense door and our awareness of it.

Have you ever experienced this? Can you link to it or quote it?
Jack Hatfield:

3) Rob Burbea's book tells about learning to be conscious of selfing, the creation of a self arising every moment.

Again, quote it so we know what he is saying exactly.
Jack Hatfield:

4) Have you found meditation techniques that zero in on this issue?

Your assuming that everything you mentioned so far is the exact same thing.
Jack Hatfield:

5) Or does this awareness arise as a result of regular meditation practice?

Kinda a safe bet here.
Jack Hatfield:

6) I have tried binary noting where the notes either self-referential or not.

Could you explain the difference? What was the practise and how long did you do it per session and for how long?
Jack Hatfield:

7) I have been unable to distinguish self-referential thoughts from non self-referential thoughts. Is being embedded the same as a self-referential thought?

In number 6 you said you had a practice doing this?
Jack Hatfield:

8) I notice I posted on this two years ago. (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5574067)

When I use the term "Selfing Process" I am talking about a pre/subconcious process that is running in the background and can very very rarely be observed though there is some evidence that it is running.  Consider walking, what subconscious processes are running that allows you to walk? Can you observe them? Is there evidence that there are subconscious processes? Isnt walking contingent upon balance? Can you observe balence while walking? Can you focus on it? Note balance seperate from walking? Perhaps.
Finding a selfing process can be done too, but it is usually only seen in contrast when it is shut down. You never actually "see" the process, just the results.
The more processes you delete, the more times you expereince the contrast of before and after, the more you will understand whats going on with "selfing".
Good Luck,
~D

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 4:46 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
"Selfing" is a funny word. I like Jack's version better - self-referential. In my experience, self-referential thoughts are those that assume a subject. As you look at a flower you see the flower as being "out there" and that then immediately assumes there is someting "in here" that is observing the flower. If that is what "selfing" refers to then that's fine, but any experience that involves a subject and an object is self-referential. This is not something, to agree with Dreamwalker, that we experience directly. I suspect a large part of the reason for that is the fact that there isnn't actually a subject and an object, but rather a mind-generated model of perception that is used to distinguish what we believe is "out there" versus that which we believe "in here." The self is thus assumed, the subject. Objects are assumed. The whole process is natural for we humans and yet it is, at the same time, misleading - maybe that's why the Buddha called it "ignorance."

Helpful?

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 5:48 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
A second thing to watch for is the feelings of slight, injury, jealousy, and threat. If someone sends an insult your way how does that make you feel? If you're confronted by another person, angrily, how does that make you feel? What is it that feels threatened, in danger, angry, or afraid? These are self-referential experiences, too. The instinct we have is to protect and defend something, albeit wholly a product of mind - the assumed self.

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 11:54 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
EDIT: ah, I see this is a high-EQ question, so I'm deleting my recommendation.

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/26/16 7:58 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
"Selfing" is a funny word. I like Jack's version better - self-referential. In my experience, self-referential thoughts are those that assume a subject. As you look at a flower you see the flower as being "out there" and that then immediately assumes there is someting "in here" that is observing the flower. If that is what "selfing" refers to then that's fine, but any experience that involves a subject and an object is self-referential. This is not something, to agree with Dreamwalker, that we experience directly. I suspect a large part of the reason for that is the fact that there isn't actually a subject and an object, but rather a mind-generated model of perception that is used to distinguish what we believe is "out there" versus that which we believe "in here." The self is thus assumed, the subject. Objects are assumed. The whole process is natural for we humans and yet it is, at the same time, misleading - maybe that's why the Buddha called it "ignorance."

Helpful?

A flower does not manufacture egoism or 'self' so why would 'selfing' be applicable to a flower? 

What is posted above is not what the Buddha called 'ignorance'. 

The Buddha never said any experience that involves a perception of 'in-here' & 'out-there' is 'self-referential'.

The Blessed One said: "The six internal media should be known. The six external media should be known...If anyone were to say, 'The eye is the self,' that wouldn't be tenable. The arising & falling away of the eye are discerned...If anyone were to say, 'Forms are the self,' that wouldn't be tenable... Thus the eye is not-self and forms are not-self.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.148.than.html

'Selfing' refers to the process of becoming, i.e., the manufacturing of the 'self' idea (which eventually leads to suffering). 

emoticon

Who, O Lord, has a sense-impression?"

The question is not correct," said the Exalted One."I do not say that 'he has a sense-impression.' The correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of sense-impression?' And to that the correct reply is: 'The sixfold sense-base is a condition of sense-impression, and sense-impression is the condition of feeling.'"

"Who, O Lord, feels?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he feels.' The correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of feeling?' And to that the correct reply is: 'sense-impression is the condition of feeling; and feeling is the condition of craving.'"

"Who, O Lord, craves?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he craves.' The correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of craving?' And to that the correct reply is: 'Feeling is the condition of craving, and craving is the condition of clinging.'"

"Who, O Lord, clings?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One, "I do not say that 'he clings.' The correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of clinging?' And to that the correct reply is: 'Craving is the condition of clinging; and clinging is the condition of the process of becoming.' Such is the origin of this entire mass of suffering.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.012.nypo.html

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 10:20 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim, thanks for the suggestion. I will try it when I get some free time.

I do a binary noting practice at times that I call embedded/not. Not embedded as I define it is the experience of seeing phenomena arising in my mind as someone else experiences it. This is seeing it as an object without a self-referential self This has a different feeling from my experience in deep meditation where phenomena arises and passes away without any sense of a self.

jack
 
I never think - my thoughts think for me. (Lamartine)

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 9:09 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Here is the paragraph in Daniel’s book that caught my eye. It is in the chapter on the 11th nana. It got me thinking of investigating whether I could see this blinking. No luck yet but just investigating is worthwhile. To me, this blink creates self.
 
>One of the primary ways that the illusion of duality is maintained is
that the mind partially “blinks out” for a part of each formation, the part
it wants to section off to appear separate. In this way, there is insufficient
clarity to see the interconnectedness and true nature of that part of
reality, and a sense of a self is maintained. When the experience of
formations arises, it comes out of a level of clarity that is so complete
that this “blinking” can no longer easily occur. Thus, when formations
become the dominant experience, even for short periods of time, very
profound and liberating insight is close at hand. That is why there are
systematic practices that train us to be very skilled in being aware of our
whole mental and physical existence. The more we practice being aware
of what happens, the less opportunities there are for blinking.<

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 10:13 AM as a reply to Jack Hatfield.
Jack Hatfield:

MCTB: "the mind partially “blinks out” for a part of each formation, the part
it wants to section off to appear separate."

So I was wondering about this passage to. I wonder what Daniel means when he talks about the "part" of a formation. Does he mean...?

a) That the mind blinks out for some time between each formation and the following one.

Or perhaps...?

b) That one sensory channel (sight, sound, thought, ...) and/or aspect (location, duration, agency, ...) of each formation is not "included" in the formation and has some kind of "life of its own" and therefore it appears to be not fully integrated in "reality".

I have experienced both (a) and (b) by the way, but I am not sure what each of those means, what they point to, and so on.

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 11:50 AM as a reply to neko.
In my opinion, it's closer to b.

One way to get a feel for it is in exploring how when we close our eyes, it seems like the experience of sounds are "in our head", but when we open our eyes, sounds seem to come from "out there". How does that happen? What changes?

In high equanimity, we become more and more sensitive to how our mind is continuously structuring perceptions to make it self and other.

It can get strange, like "we're watching how our mind watches our mind". Or "we're listing to how we listen to sounds". Or "we're seeing how we see." Those are classic high-EQ experiences.

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 12:32 PM as a reply to shargrol.
IMHO, this is all describing the process of dependent origination. The arising and passing away of objects (and by inference the subject) takes place in discernable steps over time. While the steps occur very, very fast one can learn to observe them as discrete things. 

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 4:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
IMHO, this is all describing the process of dependent origination. The arising and passing away of objects (and by inference the subject) takes place in discernable steps over time. While the steps occur very, very fast one can learn to observe them as discrete things. 

'Selfing' refers to what the Pali calls "I-making" & "my-making". 

It is unrelated to the arising & passing away of sense objects. Even the senses of dogs, chickens, fish, ants & worms experience the arising & passing away of sense objects yet it is doubtful the minds of some of these life forms engage in "I-making" & "my-making". 

Similarly, Buddhas experience the arising & passing away of sense objects but are free from "I-making" & 'my-making". 

Some quotes:

In the terms of the texts, the perception of self is called an action of "I-making" and "my-making (ahaṅkāra mamaṅkāra)." 

The perception of not-self is part of an activity called the "not-self contemplation 
(anattānupassanā)." 


When a monk's mind often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is unsatisfactory, his heart is devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has transcended pride, is at peace and is well-released.


Ven. Upasena's I-making, my-making & obsession with conceit had already been well rooted out for a long time, which is why the thought did not occur to him that "I am the eye" or "The eye is mine,"... "I am the tongue" or "The tongue is mine,"... "I am the intellect" or "The intellect is mine."

Surely," [said Ven. Ananda,] "it's because Ven. Sariputta's I-making & mine-making and obsessions with conceit have long been well uprooted that even if there were change & alteration in the Teacher, there would arise within him no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress or despair.




RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/27/16 10:31 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Jack Hatfield:
I have been thinking a lot lately about the awareness of selfing. Daniel writes
of the blink where a self-referential thought arises between phenomena
appearing at a sense door and our awareness of it.   Rob Burbea's book
tells about learning to be conscious of selfing, the creation of a self arising
every moment. Have you found meditation techniques that zero in on this issue?
Or does this awareness arise as a result of regular meditation practice?

I have tried binary noting where the notes either self-referential or not. I have been unable to distinguish
self-referential thoughts from non self-referential thoughts. Is being embedded the same as a self-referential thought? I notice I posted on this two
years ago. (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5574067)

Hello Jack,

Try this.

Have your eyes open and be normally. Don't mind about meditation or concentration in any particular way. Forget you ever heard of such things. Just try what I suggest and see how it goes.

I-less mode: Look at some object as you naturally would, whatever you have in front of you. Figuratively speaking there is like a beam of light  which travels through your eye balls through the air to the object that you're looking at. Now. Don't get hung up or become occupied with the object which is what usually happens when we look at things. Instead, when the beam goes out from your eyes and touches the object, imagine that the same beam is instantly reflected right back to your eyes and beyond them to the center of your head where the beam originally came from. Play with this simple technique and see if something happens. It's like hitting a tennis ball to the wall in front of you where it bounces back from. Simple. Observe what happens in your mind/awareness when the beam/ball reaches back at the eyes/head. If you are not sure, do it again and agai to clarify it.
Now. By doing this your mind becomes silent and the so called open awareness which knows itself becomes obvious, a living experience. Recognise this mode of being. Feel how it is. Marinate in that. Enjoy it. Relax in it. Then continue to the following questions.
Is there anyone there? Is there anyone looking? Anyone seeing? Are "you" there? Am "I" here? See if you can find anybody there, in this openly aware mind-mode. If needed, do this experiment many times in many situations, let the light beam of looking be reflected back to where it came from and see if "you" are there to experience it. Clarify to yourself if there is "I/me" there.
The same thing can be done with listening/ears. You can also find out if there is me in touching or whether self-entity is absent. These simple exercises show you the I-less mode of awareness. See and feel how this selfless open mind space is like. How is it like? Is "I/me" anywhere to be found? Study and investigate it to make I-less mode a living experience. It's not far away or difficult, you just have to apply these exercises. Don't be casual about it. Pay attention.

I-based mode: Now, second step is about the I-based mode. Once you have mode observations of the first I-less mode do this affirmation and say to yourself aloud: "I, I, I, I, I" or "me, me, me, me, me" referring to yourself as you normally do in daily life. See what happens. After affirming the I-thought artificially like this, see how it feels like in your body and mind.
Where the sensation is the strongest? Where is this "I" located? You affirmed your "self-ness" or "me-ness" so momentarily you can feel what it is, how it feels like, what it is about. Make observations. Does it hurt? Is it natural? What is all this stuff that comes up with the affirmation? Zoom in to the core of the I-sensation, zoom out of it, look at it from different angles, become aware of what your I means to yourself. Feel the open mind space around this sense of I, both the vast space around it as well as the immediate space around it, close to it.
When your sense of me-ness (subject self) is made to an object like this, it is possible to become aware of it and see it just how it is. Usually people say their "I" is a bundle of thoughts, emotions, dreams, memories, hopes, fears, wishes and so on, just a bundle of thoughts. It becomes stripped off by doing this. This means that the dualistic charge from you self/I/me becomes neutralised.

Seen I/me (second mode) from open awareness (first mode), using both modes alternatively and creatively, is the most direct and fastest way to strip off the sense of me and become awakened in an irreversible manner. It works well when you apply it properly. Many people have awakened using it.

Cheers,
Kim
Hi Kim, elsewhere you have recommended that people practice the two modes without use of self-enquiry questions like "who am I?","where am I", "who is perceiving", "what is aware" etc. However it seems in your instructions here that you are advocating the use of questions very similar to the ones above ("Is there anyone there? Is there anyone looking? Anyone seeing? Are "you" there? Am "I" here?"). Have you changed your mind on this the use of self-enquiry? If so, why? If not, can you please explain the meaningful distinction?

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/28/16 2:05 AM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder
Kim KatamiHello Jack,

Try this. ...

Cheers,
Kim
Hi Kim, elsewhere you have recommended that people practice the two modes without use of self-enquiry questions like "who am I?","where am I", "who is perceiving", "what is aware" etc. However it seems in your instructions here that you are advocating the use of questions very similar to the ones above ("Is there anyone there? Is there anyone looking? Anyone seeing? Are "you" there? Am "I" here?"). Have you changed your mind on this the use of self-enquiry? If so, why? If not, can you please explain the meaningful distinction?
Hi Jason,

Yes, different kinds of questions and investigative attitude in general are useful here. The reason why I don't encourage using vedanta-style inquiry is because it can easily become a mess. If you ask "Who am I?", the question expects an answer that says "I am this or that". That is because vedanta-talks about this big "I AM", atman, Self. I feel, as buddhists in general I suppose, that this expression is not a correct one. Why talk about a Great Self when in the absolute perspective of it, there is no one to be found? In my mind self or Self refers to an entity of some kind. Seen from this point of view, the way how vedanta-questions are formulated seem off the point. However, I think that vedantists are doing fine using it and people get awake. I just want to keep it simple and not mix the formulas. 


RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/28/16 2:37 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
IMHO, this is all describing the process of dependent origination. The arising and passing away of objects (and by inference the subject) takes place in discernable steps over time. While the steps occur very, very fast one can learn to observe them as discrete things. 


I agree. Over the last few months the whole Dependent Origination thing is transitioning in my mind from "funny philosophical thing of no real practical consequence" to "oh, that link actually makes sense! and that one too!" emoticon 

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/28/16 2:41 AM as a reply to shargrol.
shargrol:
In my opinion, it's closer to b.

One way to get a feel for it is in exploring how when we close our eyes, it seems like the experience of sounds are "in our head", but when we open our eyes, sounds seem to come from "out there". How does that happen? What changes?

In high equanimity, we become more and more sensitive to how our mind is continuously structuring perceptions to make it self and other.

It can get strange, like "we're watching how our mind watches our mind". Or "we're listing to how we listen to sounds". Or "we're seeing how we see." Those are classic high-EQ experiences.
I agree on your interpretation of (b). I think also (a) has some value, in that it points to something that has to do with Dependent Origination, as I was telling Chris M above. I could say more about what link I believe the "blink out" to be exactly, but it would be a bit tentative at this point and I will need some more work looking at it.

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/28/16 7:12 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Okay, your distinction is clear, thanks!

RE: Selfing and Self-Referential Thoghts
Answer
6/28/16 4:36 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Sure, no problem.