Discussions for and by those taking the course

 
mcsilver
 
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mcsilver
Total Posts:  1
Joined  07-01-2019
 
 
 
07 January 2019 23:43
 

I began the Waking Up Course as soon as it was available for Android. First, I would like to thank Sam and his development team for their efforts! I, myself, am I software developer and I know that when it comes to creating software and computer systems, the effort required to achieve a simplicity and robustness can be staggering.

Having tried another meditation app, Headspace, I can say that Sam’s content and delivery is somehow much more up my ally, and I am excited to experience a shift in perception and to see what that is like, even if it is subtle. So far, however, I feel like I am mostly incapable of following along. Unless the suggestions to: experience all my sensations as a cloud; step back and observe my thoughts; look for the looker; and even to notice, when my eyes are closed, that the darkness is not limited to what is usually our visual field, I fail to do any of that. I guess I am very much stuck in my current awareness, which is that I do have a head and I am looking from a place behind my eyes.

Perhaps this is perfectly expected after only a couple months (I just started the “daily meditations”) and this is where I would like to suggest input from others who are on the same journey. Would anyone be interested in a forum topic dedicated to comparing notes as we experience the Waking Up Course? We could also express what we really like about the course, what we don’t and also make suggestions.

 
qualioid
 
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qualioid
Total Posts:  3
Joined  10-01-2019
 
 
 
10 January 2019 04:53
 

experience all my sensations as a cloud; step back and observe my thoughts; look for the looker; and even to notice, when my eyes are closed, that the darkness is not limited to what is usually our visual field, I fail to do any of that. I guess I am very much stuck in my current awareness, which is that I do have a head and I am looking from a place behind my eyes.

My experience has been similar. After about 20 sessions now:
* I have been unable so far to go even a tiny bit beyond the very strong sense that “I am behind my face, looking out.”
* I am completely unable to move from “feeling the shape of my hands” to “noticing a cloud of sensations”.
* Not once have I identified when/how a thought appears, or been able to observe where it disappears to.

In these respects, I am frustrated thus far, and feel like the pace of the course may be too fast for me. Is the intent that one keeps repeating Day x until that meditation is somewhat mastered? So far I haven’t repeated any of the meditations.

Some progress that I have noticed:
* I am able to pay attention to my breath much longer now. I’ve gone from a few seconds to several minutes.
* I have found it extremely interesting to pay attention to the “signature” of emotions, i.e. where/how I feel anger, frustration, joy, etc.
* The description of attention as a spotlight in consciousness somehow felt quite revealing to me.

This progress seems sufficient to me to keep going with the course, in spite of my misgivings above.

“Simply begin again.”  smile

 

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
Total Posts:  6866
Joined  22-02-2005
 
 
 
10 January 2019 11:33
 

We hope to expand this forum to include sub-forums for meditation, AI and other things. Until then, there are other sites The Boss has started dedicated to his Waking Up app.

 
 
qualioid
 
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qualioid
Total Posts:  3
Joined  10-01-2019
 
 
 
11 January 2019 00:37
 
Nhoj Morley - 10 January 2019 11:33 AM

We hope to expand this forum to include sub-forums for meditation, AI and other things. Until then, there are other sites The Boss has started dedicated to his Waking Up app.

Oh, could you point me to those sites? Thanks!

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
Total Posts:  6866
Joined  22-02-2005
 
 
 
11 January 2019 10:51
 

I can point you to wakingup.com.

 
 
qualioid
 
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qualioid
Total Posts:  3
Joined  10-01-2019
 
 
 
11 January 2019 10:53
 
Nhoj Morley - 11 January 2019 10:51 AM

I can point you to wakingup.com.

Ah ok, I assumed you meant existing discussion forums. But thanks

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
Total Posts:  6866
Joined  22-02-2005
 
 
 
11 January 2019 12:24
 

It is a new site. It may get its own forum.

 
 
Maisy
 
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Maisy
Total Posts:  1
Joined  26-05-2019
 
 
 
26 May 2019 19:54
 

Mcsilver-I am interested in comparing notes as we progress through the course. I am also on the daily meditations and have added the metta meditations (swipe left in The metta meditations are easier for me in many ways but I realize also that I am thinking while I do it: may you be happy, etc.

I am also at the stage where breathing in the world and breathing out myself have not illuminated the nugget of no-thing-ness that Sam talks about. I am committed to the practice. I see the benefit mainly in how I am registering and reacting to emotions. I hope that practice and patience illuminate the state Sam suggests.

 
jcb
 
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jcb
Total Posts:  3
Joined  13-12-2020
 
 
 
13 December 2020 11:03
 
mcsilver - 07 January 2019 11:43 PM

So far, however, I feel like I am mostly incapable of following along. Unless the suggestions to: experience all my sensations as a cloud; step back and observe my thoughts; look for the looker; and even to notice, when my eyes are closed, that the darkness is not limited to what is usually our visual field, I fail to do any of that. I guess I am very much stuck in my current awareness, which is that I do have a head and I am looking from a place behind my eyes.

I, too, have some trouble with getting past the view that I am behind my eyes. But, for me, it’s become easier to experience all sensations as a cloud simply by sitting longer. Halfway or a little more than halfway through a 40 min sitting often works, and it’s an obvious and often pleasant phenomenological experience. There’s a loss of that centrality of consciousness, too.

As to looking for the looker, I’ve come to take it as a way of showing that you can’t find the looker, not as an instruction that can be carried out successfully.

 
GalacticPancake
 
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GalacticPancake
Total Posts:  1
Joined  19-12-2020
 
 
 
19 December 2020 14:36
 
jcb - 13 December 2020 11:03 AM

As to looking for the looker, I’ve come to take it as a way of showing that you can’t find the looker, not as an instruction that can be carried out successfully.

It’s not just that. Keep trying to do this and you may experience a unique state of awareness.

You might find reading through this interview useful: https://samharris.org/taming-the-mind/

 
Venn
 
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Venn
Total Posts:  1
Joined  30-04-2021
 
 
 
30 April 2021 06:57
 
qualioid - 10 January 2019 04:53 AM

experience all my sensations as a cloud; step back and observe my thoughts; look for the looker; and even to notice, when my eyes are closed, that the darkness is not limited to what is usually our visual field, I fail to do any of that. I guess I am very much stuck in my current awareness, which is that I do have a head and I am looking from a place behind my eyes.

My experience has been similar. After about 20 sessions now:
* I have been unable so far to go even a tiny bit beyond the very strong sense that “I am behind my face, looking out.”
* I am completely unable to move from “feeling the shape of my hands” to “noticing a cloud of sensations”.
* Not once have I identified when/how a thought appears, or been able to observe where it disappears to.

In these respects, I am frustrated thus far, and feel like the pace of the course may be too fast for me. Is the intent that one keeps repeating Day x until that meditation is somewhat mastered? So far I haven’t repeated any of the meditations.

Some progress that I have noticed:
* I am able to pay attention to my breath much longer now. I’ve gone from a few seconds to several minutes.
* I have found it extremely interesting to pay attention to the “signature” of emotions, i.e. where/how I feel anger, frustration, joy, etc.
* The description of attention as a spotlight in consciousness somehow felt quite revealing to me.

This progress seems sufficient to me to keep going with the course, in spite of my misgivings above.

“Simply begin again.”  smile

Qualioid: I’ve just finished the course and you’ve summarized my experience very closely. I have found it quite frustrating to have sam tell me to “look for the looker” and find nothing. I find myself getting frustrated, then try to relax and observe my emotions with mindfulness and come back to the exercise, but it ends up being a cycle because I can’t experience the things he’s suggesting. Has anyone got past this hurdle? I’m more inclined to just stick with the elementary observation of emotions in the body if I can’t make any progress with these other tasks related to losing the self.

 
GalacticSingularity
 
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GalacticSingularity
Total Posts:  1
Joined  30-04-2021
 
 
 
30 April 2021 09:27
 

I’ve just finished the course and you’ve summarized my experience very closely. I have found it quite frustrating to have sam tell me to “look for the looker” and find nothing. I find myself getting frustrated, then try to relax and observe my emotions with mindfulness and come back to the exercise, but it ends up being a cycle because I can’t experience the things he’s suggesting. Has anyone got past this hurdle? I’m more inclined to just stick with the elementary observation of emotions in the body if I can’t make any progress with these other tasks related to losing the self.

Over the last 5 months, it has become increasingly clear to me what ”the point” of looking for yourself is, and it is no longer a question. I was also frustrated and confused early on.

A recent daily meditation session by Sam Harris highlighted this exact journey very clearly. My attempt to summarize his words are this: Over time, as your awareness becomes more stable, you may start to realize what it feels like to find nothing. If you find it frustrating or confusing in the meantime, no amount of thought about it will resolve this for you. Simply notice that you are frustrated, confused, or whatever it may be, and begin again.

Not part of his session: I suspect words literally cannot describe this thing you may discover over time, and I do not think you will find it if you look for it specifically. I would recommend you keep looking for yourself and be patient.

Edit: I would also like to add a warning - it’s very easy to become fixated on having something ”special” happen, or trying to understand what progress means and constantly measure whether or not you are making any. I believe the only way to make progress is to simply practice being aware.

I hope that helps.

[ Edited: 30 April 2021 09:41 by GalacticSingularity]