Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tom Saw It Through A Dream

where i am. .physically Germany, mentally... pretty down on all the dharma logic, believe that the "I" is a label applied to an ephemeral concept that exists only as a though.  i can't help thinking that my thinking is getting in the way of really internalizing this belief into direct knowledge / realization. how is that?
by the way.  thanks in advance!

Ok, believing that I is a label.
Let's look deeper into that so there is no belief here anymore.

Please examine closely the word I.
What does it point to? Is there anything in real world?

Please answer with full honesty and when you are 100% sure.  Take your time. :)

i is a word and a thought pointing to the doer and experiencer of everything in my memory.  i know the argument that it is irrelevant, and superfluous and an invention- i even believe the argument, but the experience seems only intellectual to me.. not basic and gut-hitting.

Ok, Tom, let's look again. 
Thought I is pointing not to doer, but other thoughts about doer. There is no doer. 

Look again. Examine label "university". What does this label point to? Is there such thing as university in real life? There are buildings, students, books, classes, professors, are any of them university? Or is it just a word, that we use for communication, so we understand each other? 

Can you look now at word/ label I in the same way, what does it point to? 

ok, we're on the same page.  your precision is good and helpful. you are right, when i examine the doer there are just stored thoughts about the doer, so, i is a thought about thoughts, understood.

your university analogy is clear...just a word...an agreement about a concept. 


Have a look at how labelling works:
I breathe, rather than breathing happens
I digest- digestion happens, I run- running happens, etc. Can you see that thought I is just a word that in language we put in front of other words. 
There is no breather
There is no pisser,
There is no thinker 
There is no watcher. 
There is no observer, but all these are experiences happening in a moment. 

Now look inside and notice, what are the labels that you seem to identify with. Examine those. 

..i know this teaching, again intellectually, using the passive form instead of the involving form. it seems to bring me closer but doesn't push me off the cliff. for example, some of the things in your list have a deeper element of volition associated with them: running as opposed to digestion.

when i focus on "I" i try to see what agendas might be there and see images of myself with subtitles such as:

mighty meditator
seen as exceptionally good human
the right party in divorce
the good parent
the smart big brother
the enlightened partner
property owner
the "one" who did it

how is this?

Hm, sounds like you are a lot of things, but is there a you, really? 

What if I told you know that there is no self at all in real life. None, as in zero. 

Describe what comes up. 

Btw, do not worry; the shift is happening already with every question answered. It's also very tiny, won't even notice when exactly it will unfold. Just take the steps I'm asking you to and trust the process. 

very, very, very cool! i trust the process more than i trust myself! ;-)

I believe it when you tell me that there is zero self in real life. nevertheless, there is still this "feeling" that every experience is wrapped in a cellophane package of "I".  i can't see it, but it colours all of experience with this "I" Flavour and objectifies it. that reinforces the "I".

to answer your question directly: i believe it but don't know it or see it.  the purity of what i expect is tainted with the obviousness of subject and object ie: me | it

Time to rip that cellophane! 

Read this and then do it. 
Close your eyes. 
Find that which is always here. Notice the space, notice the awareness aware, breath and just stay with it. 

Notice how thoughts appear in the awareness and don't pay so much attention to what they say, but noticed it as a baffling noise, thoughts labelling whatever experience is noticed. Just never ending labelling. 

Notice that I is not anything else but just a passing by thought. Just a word, 
See that presence, being is impersonal, but thoughts make it apear to be so, now check if it's true: 

Is there a you thinking or just thoughts flowing by themselves without a thinker.  

I is a thought. 
Thought cannot think, it's just an expression of processes going on in the brain 

Notice that there is no noticed, but noticing happening.  
That there is no focuser, but focusing happening. 
That there is no one to see, but seeing it's happening all by itself effortlessly.  

Let me know what you find. 

..A little over one hour sit under the moon. kept to your instruction pretty well of noticing thoughts appearing, noticed the labelling tendency, usually shortly after the label, noticed how the thoughts tended toward reinforcing some aspect of a self, not many unfamiliar thoughts, more like repeated patterns, future planning, stupid things which would great once this no-self business was in the bag.

Kept reinforcing / reintroducing the thought of the absence of an "I" or self and tried to "feel" that.  Sometimes that led to a growing intensity to "realize" it instead of just believing it.

One short exercise where i pictured my body on a moonlight cliff, stuffing pictures representing "I" thoughts from the past into a suitcase and shoving it into the gleaming ocean below.

I'm still here.

will head to bed but try to keep clearly on the goal.

thanks for your patience.

Ok, cool, 
So what is it that kept reinforcing, reintroducing thoughts of absence of I? 
Was that not just another thought appearing and disappearing?
All by itself, just like other thoughts? 
What is behind the "introduced?
No need to get rid of I thought, it's just a pattern of language! 
Instead look at what it really is- a thought. 
Does thought think? 

VERY good question. Yes. i would usually automatically say "volition", meaning "I chose that as MY theme and I'm introducing that thought due to determined effort."  but in fact, yes, its just another thought, bubbling up from the abyss.

during the sit, the phrase / thought came up "thought does not think, it is just a thought bubbling up". this did not seem to provide a lot of traction though. sometimes i feel as though i can penetrate only so deep into a theme and then things get hazy and this seems to fit that pattern.

ok, i wasn't trying to "get rid" of the thought of "I Am" but used mental phrases of "There is no self" in an almost mantra-like way to keep the focus on the exercise.

Great! You are getting there. 

Now look at the feeling, is there a feeler, or are they all just passing by like thoughts? 

I am- is a clear sense of be-ing. One that always is here now. 

Thought does not think, yes!
So what is going on? 
Can you describe what you see?

Guten   morgen :-)

I’m not sure which time zone you're in but my bod is in europe so there might be a lag in our conversations. doesn't mean the problem isn't being worked on.

so.. took a while to sleep as i was trying to keep the watching of the arising of thoughts and labels alive.
woke this morning and while still in the wake-up haze checked out the "I" and "self" status..still present but drilled down into the thoughts and tried to keep the awareness on their spontanoeus nature.

they definitely seem to be directed, orchestrated.  the base assumption has always been that "I" am the director. the drive to get this done.. habit? the universe working through this body-mind? the thoughts are too directed to be random so there is intelligence there so i am trying to focus on the qualities that they just keep on coming : out of my control and just happen.

as i woke i was working withe the mental acknowledgments:
in seeing , just the seen
in hearing jus the heard
in feeling just the felt etc.

it feels good and right, trying to take the "me" out of the equation of reality.  it feels as though i am waiting either for this sense of "I AM" to either dissolve or clarify in some way which eludes me still.

i am trying not to expect any great fireworks shift in perception...i feel as though maybe i am slowly eroding a mountain of habitual "I-ing"

you wrote: I am- is a clear sense of be-ing. One that always is here now.

are you saying that so that I will understand what has to be seen clearly to eliminate that sense?

with much gratitude

Hi Tom, I'm in uk :)
Morning here too...

Sense of being is not gonna vanish. Nothing is gonna change. It already is as it is. 

What drops is the belief that I is the orchestrator.  

See, if you find out that Santa is not real in real life, then nothing changes, only belief drops. 
You can't find Santa, you can't find no- Santa, whatever is the label, there is no such thing as Santa. 
It's fiction. 

Same here: orchestrated is fiction. 

In seeing there is seen, seer and seeing - one. There are no separate parts. 

In hearing- hearer, heard and hearing- one, there are no separate parts.  

In orchestration.... What is there? 

Universe is working not trough, but as. It's expressing itself in different forms, not through different forms.  What do you see there? 

great!  almost the same time!

just had a phenomenal sit.

maybe a shift.  lots of dharma type ideas coming up such as:

the I is just unnecessary flypaper hanging in the corner sticky ugly nothing i want to relate to.

i had the impression of attention as an ocean wave, continuously rolling, not breaking.. until the self felt impelled to label the data stream.. so keeping attention on that cusp, just before labelling happens seemed to be a good, if tricky, place to hang out.  the feeling of a comfortable, non-clinging continuity of experience seemed possible there.

Near the end of this sit thoughts of success started to arise.  This was seen but effort was needed to assure that it would not congeal into "my success". Definitely though, a feeling of the right direction of effort was felt as well as a general non-stickiness to the phenomena. Very pleasant.

the "I" is definitely still present, the "self" still has a strong heartbeat but i believe a little slower than yesterday.

i am not sure how much i will be communicating this weekend as my little place in the woods is offline but i intend to give this exercise my full attention the entire time.  so don't feel a slave to your pc on my account.

please know that i deeply appreciate your engagement so far.

you asked: In orchestration.... What is there?
     there is order and intelligence.. but i will allow that assumption to be just a thought about being "used to" experiencing the flow of events as something comprehensible and ordered.  clearly there are natural principles at work, perhaps order is just seeing patterns..

then you wrote / asked:
Universe is working not trough, but as. It's expressing itself in different forms, not through different forms.  What do you see there?
hmm .. dunno. obviously lots of sense objects, all with organizational mind-made labels attached to them.

in my last sit, as i mentioned, i was attempting to ride a perceptive wave and experience all sense inputs as just that, sort of at the "pre-labelling" phase of arising.

right track?

sitting again, another looong peaceful sit.  things which normally would have been annoying, dogs barking, neighbours setting up outdoor stuff.. just interesting sounds.  an airplane flying overhead, stripped of labels or of attachment became a peaceful droning focus of contemplative awareness. really, really nice.

despite the recent experience of not wanting to sit and meditate for long stints.. last night's sit was long, focused and pleasant.  this morning as well  and just now....at least an hour each time...les and less "self" involvement, to hazard a hope, noticing phenomena and than at first consciously detaching then later just noticing the nature of the sounds or touch etc.

i would say that this is AT LEAST a right track if not THE right track.  will try not to consolidate these experiences into anything. will try to stay aware of "I" feeling / attachment. will try to remain objective.

I see, you have your special way to do it, cool, but seeing through illusion is nothing to do with meditation. Same like realising that Santa is not real has nothing to do with meditation. 

There is no self at all in real life, like there is no batman or pink elephant. 
Look through the window- is there a pink elephant? Is the no- pink elephant? 

This is where I like you to look now, 
What words are pointing to real things in life that exist and what point to fiction. 

I is fiction. 
Chair, table, monitor, body, tree, cat, cabin, sun is real. 
Tom is fiction.

Please exercise here and report when you are ready. 

TOM IS FICTION!?!? How could you say that? ... just kidding.  I'm on it!
will report back.
i hope that your conventional self had a nice weekend.

i hope that the pause in the action doesn't disturb you but i was offline. Not off the task at hand.

as to your point about not having to do with meditation: that is just how i "look" deeply.  it is not an altered state of mid but just a quiet place to examine my mind. if it is outside of the parameters of the method though, i will simply look, no problem.

i did the exercise as you prescribed. as before, the intellectual aspect of this is very firm. i "know" that there is not and never was an "I" or a "self" as some independent entity observing or controlling or mediating this reality.

there may have been a subtle shift, a deepening of this knowledge but no great "AH HA!" experience.  it seems to be a slight change of perspective. i will remain on this until i am 100% sure, i WILL get this done.

are there any markers that  I should be looking for that this knowledge is more than just intellectual?

Hi Tom, 
Great to see you back :)
Yes, shift it very subtle, no gongs, no angels singing, no bright lights in the eyes.  Just dropping of belief. 

Can you describe what you see. What is Tom? With full detail please.  

..so I should ignore the gongs and angels.. ok ;-)

tom seems to be a habit of identification more than a concrete entity. a viewpoint which i have not yet managed to shake off. it is always as though "I" am looking, or "I" am hearing and therin is the "I" identification already.

when i focus on hearing, for example, i can listen to birds and the rush of distant traffic and "drop" the label-making habit so that perception is "riding the wave" of the sound at a "crest" BEFORE the label (bird or traffic) is applied. Nevertheless, it seems, always to be a "looking out" from a certain viewpoint.

The experience doesn't exactly emulate "in the seeing , just the seen" kind of description.  There is separation.

Does this help?

I'd like you to look from a little different angle at Tom. 
It's a character. A real character with likes and dislikes, but it's fictional. There is a story unfolding, tom is the hero in it, like batman. 

What do you see now?

i see the character, the stories, the dramas, the story line. the intimate details are known. pictures of the character, from the past, typing now.  memories are just thoughts, pictures are thoughts too reinforcing the reality of the character...

trying to see the character as transparently "unreal" as i see batman. but "I" am still looking.


It's ok. 
Good, you see the character, nice. 
Now let’s go back to the "I". 
I is a thought. Thought does not think, is it true? 
Examine thinking with thinking. 
How does it happen, what influences it, where do thoughts come from? 

What do you see? 

Clearly.. "I" is a thought.  It is also clear that thought does not think. the mechanism of how thoughts come about is unclear and probably for this exercise unimportant but one thought seems to condition another, to colour it.

But yes I is only a thought, the thought itself does not think.

When i try to follow your instruction of "Examine thinking with thinking." ..Thinking seems to stop, i focus in on the thought process and it is either held in abeyance or seems foggy, hazey impenetrable.

Ok, so we are clear on thought does not think. 
So tell me, who is focusing? Is there anything behind doing focusing? What is looking? 

here's the tricky part.  i know the answer is that "no-one" is focusing, focusing is just happening, but it still feels as though focusing must be initiated by "something". all of my life the simple answer was that "I" was that something.

my body just went for a walk with the hounds.. during the walk while being assailed with thoughts of thought arising on its own, suddenly recollections of  a couple "past life regressions" popped into awareness. i compared the recollection of those experiences with some those which in this life I call mine. it is VERY VERY clear that there is not even the slightest difference in substantiality between those "past life" I's and the this life I's...so, all thought, nothing else very clearly seen.

the present experience, happening now, flowing by..is still objectified.  is this separation between me experiencing and experience just happening something that will suddenly appear or will it gradually wear away if seen in the light of this "no self" perspective?

is it expected that the perception of the flow of experience will no longer be encumbered with an "I"

thanks for putting up with me!

.could that something which initiate be simply a "pattern" a habitual way of thoughts arising that i associate with me..

Your message made me smile ;)

When you see that I is just a label and mind's function is to label experience, the thought I becomes empty. With that realisation, there is no more middle man attached to experience. Life is, things happen, they don't happen to you, but as you. 

Now look very closely at this and tell me, what comes up inside:
There is no self at all in real life. 

Check within, is it true? 
If not, what is the feeling there?

that rings true. there is no self other than the thought label and the residue of decades of habit.. it is obviously so. the middle man function is also clear and clearly unnecessary.

the feeling which comes up upon that query is a little like a giddy freedom feeling...

Initiation happens as a result of subconscious processes. 
Itch and scratch kind of thing. Brain gets info through senses and makes decisions based on what is happening, that goes through filters of beliefs and labelling happens as result. 

Look at your dogs, what initiates their behaviour?


But they also feel love and express it freely. Without labelling. There are no worries in dogs head. 

Ok, how about a human? 

Oh yes, the feeling of freedom inside! It's great to know, that life is happening and relax as it works fine without a general manager of the universe. ;)

Tell me, what you see when you look at humans? 

Hmm.. no idea how deeply a dog thinks or where the reaction stops.. obviously they have patterns which they follow.. far less complex and driven by strategy than a humans but there is thinking going on there.

People label.. build labels into templates and navigate their reality via those already digested templates of reaction.
humans.. self obsessed.. worried beings.. largely living out of sync with the present.. Planning for the future.. regretting the past...calculating advantage and disadvantage in millisecond tact.  Missing out on experience by filtering it or relying on the shortcut of stored reactions.

Yes, life for a human = suffering. All because of unexamined assumption that I is an entity. A soul. 

So are you through? Do you have any questions? 
Is everything crystal clear?


i really can't say that i am. i would like to sit with this a while and get back to you. Examine it, live with it and deepen it.

if i have any questions, i hope you don't mind if i come back to you. but i will let you live your conventional life again and me mine.

Thank you for your kindness and efforts. if i can help you in any way please let me know without hesitation.

That is good idea to let it sink in. 
From what I see the shift has already happened, just need to let it unfold. There is nothing left to do, but relax and notice the obvious.  
Please feel free to ask anything at all and report back when it feels right. 

If there is feeling of stuckness, it's best to address it and work through rather than not. 

i believe it when you tell me that there is zero self in real life. nevertheless, there is still this "feeling" that every experience is wrapped in a cellophane package of "I".=A

I see that you have been anchored in real world. Hihi, that is great! It may not seem like anything to you, but yes, this is a little shift. See, when you stop living in the mind, real world becomes more real, more intimate. That's all there is- life happening. 

So who/ what is experiencing the real world? Is there an experiencer? Does life need an experiencer to be present? 

Can you look deeply in real world, is there anyone controlling what is happening? Can you see that mind labels and thoughts like 'yes, it's me' are just thoughts passing by? And that too is happening by itself? 

Is it true that there is no controller?
Is it true, that life is just happening by itself? 

Answer please when you ready.  


i is the invisible, untouchable security blanket wrapped tightly around this idea of self. my seeing is still through the weave of this blanket.  i know this but don't feel the detachment i'm expecting from the genuine realization of this obvious fact. 

I’m still working on it.  i do seem to feel a shift within which makes the mundane less important somehow.  Less able to cause me grief.

I’m trying to see whether this is a change in perspective or a relief after a few weeks of high everyday stress.

Hahaha! I is security blanket.... Hmmmm ....nope! 
The fear surrounding "I" is the security blanked. 
It's fear of exposing the fraud. 
I is not real and all your life you knew for certain that it is. 
So look from this angle and see what would be worst that could happen if I was exposed as a lie...

It is.   A lie.  

The shift is happening; it's not one moment, but a process lasting few days in time.  

Notice that.  


thanks, gotcha..i believe that a shift is underway. i am working on it and will look at it again more deeply as soon as I’m out of this Telco.

a report will follow
..ps..during my contemplations.. looking.. i have tried to see the "fear"  , "confusion" , hazy unclear ideas...as the camouflage hiding this self...no event such as could be described as a sudden breakthrough to clarity or a dissolution of the concept of an "I"

Clarify hazy ideas. Identify the fear. The fear is a feeling inside the body.  What is it protecting? 
Answer this: what would be lost if it was true, that there is no self at all.  
Look deeper and answer when ready. 


just before bed last night i was applying your last instruction and giving myself suggestions to continue the investigation as i slept.

i woke at around 03:00 from a dream in which the following occurred:

i (and some others in the dream) were all carrying around oven trays with cakes in them.  mine had my name on it.  it was "I".  i had, in the dream, the very distinct knowledge that i understood clearly that the "I" is just a label pointing to nothing.

i realize that this is not how one should "investigate" , nevertheless the dream was profound and i believe is the result of a deeper internalization of this understanding.  I’m a pretty grounded person and as such don't ascribe much meaning to the literal aspects of dreams but the "knowledge" was palpable upon awakening and for me the salient point is that this "quest" is embedded in the midstream.

Parallel to my dream life :-) i am continuing to look at the "I" and chase the feelings the investigation churns up.
i feel as though i have "let something go" over the last few days.  Things are lighter, smoother, less jagged.  The vicissitudes of life seem interesting without "me" feeling as though i am being sucked into and controlled by them.

Awesome dream.
See, mind is resolving the confusion by itself :) there is no how it should be, it works in the way that it's best for you. And if this knowing comes from a dream, that is how it's delivered for you. 
So I is a label. 

In waking life, what is the I that is looking at the I? If I is a label, can it look? Or looking happens by itself?

You are getting very close! :))

i agree that something is happening...there seems to be more space between experience and the sense of an I...

i don't know whether i adequately expressed the sense in the dream that "it was already my state" and that the "cake pan" with "me" in it was like a leftover which couldn't quite be dropped yet.  but the base sensation was that the knowledge was there and was the experience...

i is definitely a label.  the concept of everything happening by itself is not yet gut level.  it is understood but the hangover of over 50 years of leaning on the lie is still present although definitely attenuated.



You hangover word made me laugh. Lol. Yes, that's how it can be described :))

Can you look at Tom again and see what you find now. 
What is Tom, how it operates, is there a driver inside the body?

no.  just driving
Rant about it, please, what is tom?

at the moment...the body is working...so the attention given to the question is limited.  Nevertheless:

tom seems more transparent than before.  Less important. still seems to be the experiencer to a degree though despite my clearly seeing the now obvious fact that this can’t be.  while trying to delve into the feelings of fear / attachment to the idea of "me" yesterday, there were only subtle feelings to track.  Difficult to see.  Some pointing to a latent desire to "be seen as the 'morally right' person" in some old mental baggage situations.  this insight made me laugh to see how i was still churning through decades old themes and holding them as mine and being attached to some possible future judgement about them.  Then later .. the dream...

I can see that you are through!! Welcome to the flow! :)
Thank you very much for looking, it was a pleasure from my side to assist you.  

From now on liberation starts and all beliefs are gonna fall. Like dominoes..

Key is to inspect everything, acknowledge and release. When stuff comes up and it feels that something is not right, always look inside. There will be something that wants to hold on, especially the precious beliefs close to the heart. 

Well, it's a journey without driver, so Tom can relax and enjoy :)

I'm delighted for you. :))

Just for the end bit, what was that click, that pushed it through, what was that last push? 

From my side i would not say yet that i am through but there is no impatience connected with this.  Perhaps it is the writing style of the inherent imprecision of communicating concepts but your confidence is not yet shared.  as before, i will take your advice and observe and let go.

to answer your "end bit" question.. the dream was very compelling, such a strong sense of knowing that the message was GOTTEN. Will keep on the reality check though.

i will check back occasionally and let you know how it progresses.

i thank you for your guidance and wisdom!  Your drive to help others is obvious and cherished.

I know there is still stuff to work out. 
But I see that the line has been crossed. :)

It helps to look at what doubt is, what's behind it, check there! 
Write to me until it's all clear. 

Deepening is gonna take some time, yes, until all beliefs are inspected and released. All I want to know is if you have seen it clearly, or not. 

Was there a self ever? 

No there was never a self. Again my dreams were clearly pointing to a deep realization of no self. The knowledge is being internalized and the habits worn away.

This morning’s meditation was largely taken up with being present with all arising phenomena with the focus on everything just arising and passing away. no self, no I other than the labelling process...all sounds being just there requiring no intercession of a me.

It is still requires a conscious effort but is each time becoming easier which to is interpreted as  "less self" in the way.  it is becoming easier to take the less egoistic view that these thoughts, and the direction or tendency toward realizing no-self are just emerging from some depth beyond "me", no requiring "me".  so I’m trying to keep me out of the way.


Awesome, Tom, you made it through. :))

It's a bit like a hangover after realisation. It takes some time to release all that is left hanging in there without centre to attach. 

I'm delighted for you. Truly. It fills my heart with huge appreciation. Thank you. 

May I use it for my blog? It really helps people. Makes it easier for them to see. 
It's great to cover it from many angles and yours is valuable as it shows how it can also happen through a dream! Powerful stuff.  

of course you can use it for your blog. it’s funny that the dreams played a role as they historically haven't done so in my life.

as before, i see the realizations which i have had to this point as only stepping stones.  the way all of this plays out interests me.  Observing reactions in stressful situations is always a very good base to measure progress in my experience. Things seem far less emotional at this point but there have been no real difficult tests as of yet.

i know that i am still capable of anger and other passions and so know that i am still tied to suffering. since this process began, however, there has been much less clinging and reaction to charged situations.  my meditation has been significantly deeper and clearer and the process just seems right and comfortable.

Thank you for your help and guidance again.  Don’t be surprised if my email address pops up occasionally with a report or two.

Stay well

You are most welcome, Tom. Write to me any time you feel like. I'm loving getting emails from my free friends. 


1 comment:

  1. Reading about the dream thought why doesn't he eat the cake? ;-) Well done!