Direct Pointing – Direct experience

For the inquiry into the self illusion and the other fetters, we work with direct pointing. I would like to invite you to find out what they are.

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Sit comfortably, close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. And then go in search of your limit. Where do you stop? Where does the world/environment begin? With your eyes closed, can you find a boundary between your skin and your sweater or pants? The socks? What is there where you assume the border?

Then open your eyes. Observe what happens! Is there a self looking out of your eyes? Are you looking out of your eyes? Are you doing the seeing? Or is there perhaps just seeing?

What is self? I? Take a look, can you find it? Is it you who thinks?

Observe your thoughts. Can you find the thinker?
Observe your acting? Can you find the doer?

Sit comfortably again, close your eyes. And observe the thoughts. How they come. One after the other.

What do the thoughts do?

They name everything you experience, everything you feel. They analyze, interpret, categorize. Check. Is that right?

Look around the room. Observe how thoughts tell stories and name things.

For the inquiry into the 10 fetters, we examine experience before a thought interprets it.

Why? Because the illusion is created mainly by thought. Self is a concept. Self is not a real thing. Self is a fantasy. Self is an illusion.

As babies, we had no concept of self. We were not separated from experiencing by self. There was only pure experiencing: Hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting. Self developed only later, when we learned to speak.

Thoughts name not only things, but also actions: I walk, I talk, I type, I read, I breathe, I sleep. Now if you change that naming to: Walking, talking, typing, reading, breathing, sleeping – what happens then?

Is there really self that is acting?

Observe the breath. Is there you who breathes? Is it you who wakes up in the morning? Is it you who goes to sleep? Do you stop breathing when you stroke self? Without the thought “I think”, does thinking still take place?

You hear a sound. And thoughts about the sound appear. The eye sees an object and the object is named. Observe.

Wherever you are, focus on what is going on. And notice how thoughts name everything and tell stories about it.

Self is an invention, an imagination, fiction. But over time, we get so used to it that we now think of self as real.

The thought concepts lay themselves over the experience layer by layer. And this coating becomes thicker and more impenetrable with time.

So impenetrable that soon we can no longer experience the self directly. And at some point we only see the coating.

Now we consider the coating to be reality, to be true. This is how we live our lives. We are separated from our immediate experience because we assume that the layer of thought concepts is what is. But a thought is not true. The content of each thought is a story. A fantasy.

Of course, thought is useful. For example, if we want to build a bridge or a house. But thinking is only a tool.

The problem is that we use thinking as a tool to work on everything. A hammer is made to hammer nails. You can’t cook food with it. But we hammer everything with thinking. Simply because we can’t turn it off. Even with the inquiry of the 10 fetters, it is important not to think about the questions. Thinking never stops. But when the thinking work is done, we should put the tool aside.

We don’t have to stop the thoughts from appearing for that. We can’t do that at all. But we can see thoughts for what they are and not be deceived by them. The coating of thoughts is not a problem as long as we know that it is a coating.

And to see this clearly, it is so important to stick to direct, immediate experience in our inquiry into illusion. Because we can’t debunk it with the same tool that creates it.

Trust your direct experience. If you stick with that and just look and look, and hear and smell and feel and taste, you’ll be able to distinguish what you’re experiencing and what’s being added by thought.

Because that’s what this whole thing is about. What are we really experiencing and what are we thinking about.

And you will be amazed at how many difficult questions about life, the universe and all the rest can be answered through direct experience.

Always looking and seeing what is real and what thoughts add to it. That’s it. That’s all you have to do.

Buddha explained that there are 10 assumptions or 10 fetters that stand in the way of awakening. If you want to know what they are, read on here: Through the 10 Fetters to Awakening.