Sunday 5 January 2014

Burying the past

I did not want to spend too much time covering old ground but felt it necessary to put the past firmly behind me. I want to discuss the problems of the old approach and convincingly answer this question.

What is the difference between this approach I am now working on and that of Ruthless Truth & Truth Strike?”

Skeletons in the Closet

When I say “there is no you”, what I really mean is that there is no division between experiencer and experience.

It is perhaps more unpalatable but not so difficult to comprehend if we consider it in this way. What we think of as 'me' or 'ourself' is an entity that directs the bodies actions and thinking. However, this is an illusion as it actually happens automatically, life lives itself. There is no entity separate from experience calling the shots in what we perceive as our life. Our experience consists of a modelling process that allows the brain to think abstractly. This modelling process actually constructs what we call 'I' or 'ourselves' through language and other phenomena, and is simply a representation or 'self model' of a person.

What this actually means is the person that we think we are is simply a series of thoughts produced by the brain. In other words what you conceive of as 'me', or 'yourself', is nothing more than a thought.

To outline our conceptions, if we had our five senses and our visceral (felt) bodily experiences removed what would be left? Us westerners commonly like to think for the most part we are some entity, or thinking thing, that exists independently from the external world. This is known as dualism and most often we hold the belief that we are a soul of some sort, especially if we have developed our own particular belief through religious and spiritual channels. If you are a scientist like myself you might hold to a more materialistic explanation.

Given that 'no self' might be unpalatable for some people it is worth mentioning this is a widely accepted philosophical position given numerous support by philosophers and neuroscientists. A few books worth checking out here are 'The ego tunnel' - Thomas Metzinger, 'The Ego Trick' - Julian Baggini, and 'The Self Illusion' - Bruce Hood. There is also a book called the “User Illusion” - Tor Nørretranders which explores consciousness and the idea that it is a simulation. These go in to a lot of depth on the subject and dispense and replicate many of the counterarguments that I have used in the past, as well as present many new ones.

If your goal on this site is to realise Anatta, I would suggest that you don't fill your head with concepts as this makes exploring this phenomena more difficult. This is for the simple reason that you are more prone to conceptualise about the phenomena you experience. I realise that a degree of intellectual understanding is absolutely necessary, however, a balance needs to be achieved.
In an ideal world someone would come here naïve and pick up the tools to test the claim and then do the reading I outlined above. However, this is far from an ideal world and we need some degree of convincing that this insight is possible before we look in to the possibility. This takes us to a fundamental problem with the RT and TS methodologies, which I will highlight shortly.

The Pillars of the Acropolis

It was back in 2010 that a juncture was made between this conventional philosophy of self as illusion, and what came to be known as Ruthless Truth, and subsequently Truth Strike. A British philosopher called Ciaran Healy managed to find in his investigations that it was possible to recognise this illusion of self by looking deeply in to our direct experience. This is known properly as phenomenology in academic circles, we just called it 'looking'. Essentially, the idea of these sites was to facilitate an intense phenomenological investigation which could rapidly yield the insight of Anatta. There are various groups who still guide people through this process, such as Liberation Unleashed, and Hall of Mirrors which can be found on the web.

When this experience of Anatta was initially realised, it provided the means to disrupt negative thought patterns and bought great understanding to the nature of reality. At this point in time we genuinely believed Ciaran had discovered the psychological trigger for enlightenment and that we had become enlightened. From that point on we mistakenly believed we were responsible for waking the world up from its delusion. We believed we had discovered the key to ending suffering in the world and we had a duty to humanity to show this to everyone. However, we later discovered that this is what the Buddhists call an 'arising and passing' event, that is simply known in their doctrine as 'Anatta', which translates as 'not self'.

It is now pertinent to discuss why the RT and TS organisations failed, and investigate the premises that they relied on to assert their arguments and conduct their methodologies. The ethos of these organisations was to help seekers realise this same insight of Anatta. This was done through the process of introspection and getting the seeker to question the presuppositions that they logically held through a phenomenological investigation. While some people managed to complete the process, many others failed, and many more still, tried to argue about whether this insight was possible without even bothering to do any investigation.

It was the custom at the time to tear their arguments apart and make piercing attacks against their identity. This was known as harpooning because they could not leave the argument with their vanity intact and this trapped them in dialogue. This was a deliberate ploy to ensure that they could not escape as their vanity would not allow them. This allowed us to lance out their delusion and show how they were subject to incoherent thinking patterns, in the hope that they would actually notice them and realise they were deluding themselves. This was very effective when we used to troll forums and trapped people there in front of their peers. There was always someone who would take the bait simply on the principle that they could rubbish someones argument to make themselves look good in front of their peers. What happened was that it would end up in a real mess as they frantically tried to reinforce their delusion.

The illusion of self centres around how our self model is perceived by other people. By driving an iron stake right through their vanity, they could not bear to see their image shattered, and they would desperately fight to maintain this illusion to themselves and their peers. This would cause all kind of incoherent excuses to come out in desperation and they would always launch personal attacks against us. We would seize on this and highlight this to the victim and everyone on the forum. In this sense, there was no escape them as we tried to humiliate them into looking at the truth.

This spectacularly backfired though. Most often we alienated ourselves by trying to impose our viewpoint on others. Most of the time their friends would rally round to try and support them. Even though we demolished their arguments, they would simply point out our aggressive tone and use this as a justification not to look. We used to justify this by calling it tough love and for those few we managed to free it seemed worth it initially. We believed that if we could free enough people from their false self, this movement would take on a life of its own and we could realistically end suffering in the world.

Lofty ambitions, indeed. However, this sent a massive wave of negativity through many spirituality forums, and throughout the internet. In this sense these organisations have a bad name and are infamous in many circles, as are the very people who used to run and operate them. This would include yours truly. Yes, I regret some of it but I think there are only positives to be gained from this point onwards, and I have only the desire to explore further and cast what we have discovered in to a tool set that anyone can pick up and use.

There was a problem underpinning the entire process of all these endeavours all along, that no amount of ad hominem attacks could cover over. Essentially, the premise of what we were doing was claiming to people that they could introspect in to their own minds, and gain a realisation that would allow them to get a handle on their suffering to a degree. This sounds like a rather miraculous happening and here it is plain to see that not only did it require a degree of belief in the concept of no self, it also required that there could never be any kind of objective proof whether this was possible. Not to mention that the idea of no self confounds peoples beliefs and runs contrary to the Advaitan teachings of true self.


'[N]o testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish.' (Hume, 1748)

To outline the first problem vividly we can start to look at the faults in this aspect related to what constituted a proof of the Anatta claim.

To start with the claim that there is no self sounds strange and when one starts extolling the said benefits this may sound to good to be true. In fact we could go as far as to claim it is somewhat miraculous. Now what evidence can we present to assert the proposition 'there is no you'?

All we can ever present is a demolition of arguments for the existence of the self, and a set of testimonies that this insight is possible. When we come to rest on testimony we are immediately in trouble. We can run Hume's argument against miracles here and effectively demolish any such notions of testimony ever being reliable. It would be no more absurd to suppose that on the third day Jesus arose from the dead by forming a belief based on the testimony of the apostles. Since much of the early work on these forums was not done with any methodology, this renders it invalid from a scientific perspective even if we were to produce phenomenological accounts from each person. There may be some value in revisiting this area but since I have no need to try and demonstrate it to anyone, it seems redundant to any pressing lines of enquiry I shall endeavour to follow in future.

We are naturally inclined to be suspicious of any testimony that is not agreeable with our experience and this is why RT and TS were always facing an uphill struggle. It is of little wonder we could only resort to ad hominem insults and trying to destroy peoples credibility when they would not look. This led us to try and shock people in to looking with brute force tactics. However, when you see people acting in such a manner you should be as concerned as when you have a pack of rabid Jehova's witnesses banging on your door to present you with the 'truth'. All this ad hominem stuff ever did was undermine any of the work we tried to do and failure was the only possible outcome.

The Belief in 'No Self'

'A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence' (Hume, 1739)

To compound matters further, in order for someone to investigate Anatta it is necessary that there is a belief in the possibility of realising it. It should be of little wonder that much of the work that had been done was founded on convincing someone they should investigate this area. Without a belief in at least the possibility that this insight can be realised, then it is clear that there would be no such investigation. This principle was highlighted many times by people who came to these forums with no intention of looking.

Of course, Buddhist's and other spiritual sources claim Anatta is possible, but again we are back on the shaky grounds of testimony. For this reason, we had this two pronged problem to deal with where we had to encourage the idea of possibility, and have only recourse to testimony and showing how common arguments for the existence of the self were false. After this point, it was only possible to reach a subjective truth of no self by looking, which is problematic in of itself. Ultimately this is not demonstrable in any objective capacity, unless you actually do the grunt work of looking. Then the problem becomes how do we know that this experience is possible?

Alas, words escape me here.

From my silence it is reasonable to conclude that I have no argument to support the former chain of reasoning. You may choose to examine your experience or turn your nose up at the idea of Anatta, safe in the knowledge that I cannot give you any logical justification for exploring the possibility. I have tried in vain to find a solution to logically explain Anatta in the past but I am afraid it is a fools errand. It seems all I can do is lay out all the arguments for the self that do not work, and then cast them as signs that mark out the wrong path.

I will point to the possibility of Anatta but I can only point to Buddhist doctrine and Metzinger et al's claims. I agree with the aspect of Anatta being realisable but I am not a subscriber to everything Bhuddhism says on the whole, since it is riddled with its own dogmas. I will be challenging arguments for the self which are grounded in fiction and I will also argue that qualitative methodologies such as phenomenology follow the scientific method and are valid methodologies. In this sense we are going to stay within the bounds of the scientific method but I realise the burden is on me to argue for the validity of phenomenological enquiry. This is not a position that is widely accepted although it has started making inroads in some circles of academia, especially in social psychology.

Of course, in the RT days we were enthusiastic about promoting Anatta regardless as there was no doubt in our minds about Anatta being true. However, we were working against these problems from the beginning. There is no doubt that without a solid logical argument to present this case it would always be suspect in the mind of a fair enquirer and this would mean people would be put off the idea. Many more were put off the idea when we remember the vile tirades that RT were famed for, and the negativity I bought to the table at TS. This was why many walked away or did not bother investigating. All we had really achieved was to put people off something that could become a force for good. That is why I have no desire to ever go back to any endeavour that is based on a format of 'liberating' people.

Argumentum ad ignorantiam

'The connection between these propositions is not intuitive. There is required a medium, which may enable the mind to draw such an inference, if indeed it be drawn by reasoning and argument.' (Hume, 1739)

Any arguments for the self, when conceived to be an independent entity from experience, are incoherent and based in circular logic. However, the conclusion 'no self' can be perceived to boil down to the argument from ignorance fallacy. In the same way that we cannot prove that God does not exist, we cannot prove the self does not exist. There is no way to prove the non-existence of some particular thing. Whilst no coherent argument can be formulated to argue for the existence of the self we cannot show somethings non-exsistence.

Whilst this apparent absurdity meant that many people challenged this idea of no self, from our perspective it was not a case of seeing that there was no self that existed which would be clearly absurd. I think this was one of the most misunderstood parts of any of our work. The realisation of Anatta meant 'no self' was simply a real consequence of our truly understanding this aspect of reality. To gain this insight is simply a matter of seeing the phenomena of what we would call 'me' or 'self' for what it really is, which is this.

An illusion propagated by language, and belief.

What this problem always boiled down to in our explanations and discourse, was simply a misunderstanding of language and its inherent tendency of creating dualistic notions of persons separate from the body. It was far easier and less confusing to transmit the message in the form of there is 'no you', or there is 'no self'. This meant there was no ambiguity and allowed someone to be laser focussed on their investigation. Any other conception clouds matters for seekers in my opinion, and for this reason we had many people attack us nihilists who denied our own existence. The one thing I can be certain of is that there is experience happening, and in this experience there is a self model that produces a real illusion of self.

The truth is, the appearance of self is simply constructed from a set of feedback processes that tricks the brain in to believing the conscious 'projection' or 'self model' is a thinking thing independent from the body. This trick makes the psychological experience of phenomena seem like it is happening to an entity independent of the sensory apparatus itself. I tricks us in to thinking the feeling of pain is happening to us, and we are an entity that has conscious volition over the body. In reality there is just the experience of pain and of a story about being responsible for the bodies actions before and after the manner.

The realisation of Anatta is simply a pattern interrupt to the faculties of thinking that maintain this illusion. This does not mean these patterns do not continue. It simply means that there is direct understanding of the illusory nature of the self, which cannot believed to be an entity separate from experience any longer.

The brains volition over the body, as you will discover if you investigate is mostly unconscious and we can demonstrate this scientifically through phenomenological investigation. However, this does not mean that conscious decision making does not feedback in to the process of volition. In fact this is one of the reasons why this illusion is so convincing.

It is clear that the degree of feedback involved with phenomena that we experience, and that of which we have no appearance of volition, is complex. Whilst I do not subscribe to an unconscious mind as traditionally conceived, it is evident that we are not conscious of many of the brains processes, and for this reason I have labelled it in this manner.

Thought, no doubt, does feedback in to these processes and we see this clearly evidenced with 'seeing as' influencing our perception. I wrote an article last year which treats of this phenomenon more fully, but a magic eye picture should serve as an example here. Given that thought clearly does influence the bodies faculties, it is here where we like to insert the thinker, which we refer to as 'I' or 'me'.

At this point, we believe we are some entity calling the shots that has concrete existence separate from these processes, however, this 'I' is completely illusory. When we investigate conscious mental processes, we see them actually happening of their own accord. These cannot be manipulated by a 'self' since when we investigate the conscious mechanisms of experience, we discover that they are autonomous from the illusory story of the self model. In this sense the phenomena of self hood is a real phenomenon that exists in real life, and is probably responsible for facilitating what we know as civilisation. However, it is certainly not 'you', nor is it a tangible, separate, object in reality that plays a causal role in driving the bodies actions or cognitions.

Like the water in the mirage is a real illusion, so is that which you call 'me'.

The internal dialogue, or internal chatter we are aware of that constructs our life story is simply a metaphor of human agency doing what it does best, which is living life. I do want to focus on how believing in this evolving metaphor of our lives can cause us problems but for now, we should be satisfied that this simple misunderstanding was the root cause of many arguments. To put it simply, realising no self is simply coming to the direct understanding that the mental phenomena that constructs our notions of being a person in the world, simply points to nothing tangible in real life, it is just a story. Life lives itself and it always has done We can wake up to this by investigating it or choose to ignore it.

From here, we could launch into arguments such as 'I' refers to the brain, 'I' refers to the body, and this is where we used to get people to look and investigate, in order to discover these counter arguments are false through experience. It is the quizzical nature we have to solve this puzzle that attracted people to the idea of no self, before the madness of RT & TS ensued.

The Great Eastern

“I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement”. (Hume, 1739)

We can also point to further problems here, when we consider the paradox of Eastern thinking. To outline this briefly I will simply state the apparent contradictions that the Buddhist doctrine of Anatta faces with Advaitan conceptions.

The claims 'no self' and 'true self' are contradictory at first glance.

However, upon investigating they are simply two different linguistic constructions of one and the same 'thing', or more appropriately 'no-thing'. In this sense, Advaiatan's subscribe to the conception that the true self is all that is, which is equivalent to Brahman or god. This is a fundamentally distinct conception of God and bears no resemblance to the monotheistic religions of Christianity and Islam etc as it is a pantheist conception of god. Since Advaita is a religion, they point to the expression of existence as divine and this is what they mean by true self. There are various derivatives of this line of thinking, such as 'I' is the universal consciousness experiencing itself, or 'I' is the intelligent awareness, or the knowing hereness, or whatever spiritual concept you prefer, if that is your inclination.

The Buddhist's conception in comparison seems to be more nihilistic. When we say no self, we seem to be implicitly denying that there is any being that exists. Here though, we would appear to be denying the existence of Brahman or all that is, and our spiritual concepts. However, if we take this to mean that there is no dualism between experience and experiencer, as I explained earlier in the post, then there is no reason to deny that that there is no expression of existence which manifests as our experience. Advaitan's refer to consciousness as the true self and Bhuddist's refer to there being no self separate from Buddha nature. In this sense there is no contradiction here, they are two different linguistic constructions of one and the same thing.

Bhudda nature and true self can be taken to mean one and the same thing, although they are conceived differently in their respective doctrines.

Whether these two doctrines agree about the existence of God seems to be a moot point here. What we can see is they are pointing at two different conceptions of the self, and really there is no paradox. However, what used to happen back in the days of RT and TS was that we used to have big arguments with Advaitan folks, about the status of the very proposition and the existence of self!

Considering we were both arguing about different things, it was little wonder that we found any common ground. The Advaitan doctrine implicitly presupposes true self, and it is of little wonder they found the no self proposition contrary to their religious beliefs. True self in Advaitan speak means universal consciousness, or God. So to say no self to them is inflammatory and contradictory, even though we mean something completely different with no self!

In this sense, it can be argued that both are relevant, they are the same thing for all intensive purposes. I certainly prefer the nihilistic conception to this day since it clearly delineates between how Westerners define the self as an 'individual agent', separate from the mental phenomena that appears in experience.

There are two choices that can be made here by a fair enquirer, when we look at spiritual and materialist doctrines. We can implicitly assume that reality is a divine expression, or we can point to a materialist doctrine which we know as science. Here, if we make a choice we are presupposing particular ontologies and we are in the grounds of metaphysics, which can only come from belief about the nature of reality.

I confess that I have no reason to believe one doctrine over the other in concrete terms, so in this sense, I am open minded until experience presents me with an impression to form a clear idea. Personally, I am satisfied that I will never have such an impression since this is forever beyond the realms of possible experience, and I can only ever form an obscure idea. We may come to know the properties or nature of reality but these are understandings derived from experience and not from the pages of any doctrine.

Having explained this conception, and the problems faced by these organisations I can now turn to the question I set myself at the beginning. How is what I am doing now any different?

Well, I hope that I have properly demonstrated the shaky grounds on which the RT and TS approaches were founded on. I cannot hope to build anything on the ruins of these approaches and as we abandon the ship wreck to rot away on the sands, we have a new world to explore. Clearly, I cannot present a logical argument for the insight of Anatta being realised, however, I can certainly provide the tools for the phenomonological investigation that we used. This represents the salvage from these stricken vessels, and then it is up to someone to take the steps afterwards to realise Anatta if they think it is something they want to do.

What have I just achieved here?

I have demolished any claim I might have to Anatta being demonstrable and relegated myself from a supposed teacher to an explorer of reality. Anything I do claim can be replicated on the solid grounds of experience and my claim to Annatta is simply my personal experience, which you are not required to agree or disagree with. I say the Buddhist's were correct in this aspect, it is up to you whether you want to explore the possibility beyond any phenomenological investigation you can do here. For my part, it is not an area I want to argue about any further as I am going to take it as a given that we are not an entity separate from experience.

I am just another fair enquirer on the bus of life, I feel all the bumps and discomforts, and the joys of stretching my legs and looking at the view when we pull over. I have my own delusion as does everyone else, I only hope that we can stay on the path and forge ahead to make new discoveries in human nature. There is no you in the conventional sense but you may feel free to call reality, life, or awareness 'I' if you really feel compelled to do so. There is no contradiction here and there never was a problem since it always boiled down to language.

We can construct different linguistic formulations for different purposes and there are many definitions that we can apply to the world 'self'. As long as we can agree on the formulation we are using in communication, we can avoid future problems. When I say 'self' you must take it to mean a thinking thing separate from, and pulling the strings of experience. Other people say the self is awareness, or consciusness. Some even say it is the intelligent knowing, or life itself. In whatever way you conceive these things it is very clear that these are something different to the common sense conception we have of being discrete causal 'selves' in the world which I am challenging here. We need not deny there is awareness, which is clearly the canvass upon which life unfolds, but equating this to something to identify with or our true self is a completely different project to what I have in mind here.

This is where much of the trouble arose from in the early days, I hope I have ironed this out to pave the way for future understanding, and rebuild the bridges we stormed over and destroyed by recklessly throwing fire and brimstone around the place.

The problem from the start in any of these endeavours was really in going about things with an ad hominem approach to make up for the shortcomings of the TS and RT foundations. This was where all the problems arose from, and clearly there is little point in arguing about 'no self' in this manner. I just hope that you make the journey and be sceptical of anything you see along the way, I am certain you will see what is true for yourself.

I guess the main field of exploration for me now is determining what does really exist. For instance, there is conscious intelligence, the experience of phenomena, and the appearance of being a moral person in world, whether or not we agree if this person is illusory or not. It is in these avenues we can explore and develop our understanding and endeavour to expand our insights in to human nature and the phenomenon of experience.


Anonymous said...

Dear author,

I'm very excited that you continue your marvelous work. As a being looking for truth for some time now, I for a long time felt there is something inherently wrong with most "no-self systems". I for example had an initial belief into possibility and soon understanding that there is no separate person here inside this body. Where all the guiding and much of my own work in this field failed is actually seeing it as such, except for a few brief occasions.
It much reminds me of the trouble of seeing stereograms for the first time. It was the "just look" thing but until it happened for the first time, it meant frustration and dissapointment.
I'm stuck with this understanding and occasional seeing for the long time, but the "breakthrough" or "crossing the gateless gate" is still missing. I try to avoid blaming "myself" for this but still look in awe what is causing this mechanism of self to be so persistent.
Looking forward to your further posts.

Gh0$T V1Ru$ said...

Hi mate, glad you found the post useful I just want to clarify a couple of things for you:
No self, is just a feature of reality but unfortunately by pushing this, it creates a system of thinking and this is where all the dogma came from in the TS and RT days. I want to avoid creating a system per se, and rather just leave the tools out there so people can investigate it. Even doing this creates an adherence to phenomenology and creates a system in of itself, but at least it does not involve pushing this system on anybody, and anyone can replicate the results from these investigations.

There is further to go after no self, so it is just one step on a much larger journey. If you have seen it once that is crossing the gate. It is like taking sunglasses off and noticing that is the true character of reality. We cannot unknow what we have seen so if you have seen it once it is not a failure. Nothing changes after the realisation except you get a new angle on suffering and you get a sense of clarity. It is a subtle psychological knowing rather than being something overtly noticeable, so don't get caught in the trap that there is some seismic shift that happens, or some transition to insta bliss.

It is waking up to life as it is, and life is what it is to be experiencing this moment right now. You are still prone to misery, ecstacy, the full range of human emotions, but it cannot consume you in the same way. I am melancholic at the moment as I have reached a crossroads in' my life' and I am hearing all the bullshit ego stories of should do, should not do. I am waiting for intuition to take the right course of action so there is a sense of acceptance that this is my situation but it is not consuming in the same way as it would have been in the past.

This is not to say it is pleasant by any means, but I am not spiralling down in to the depths because of the suffering. It is more like feeling the raw pain of the cognitive dissonance through the storylines I appeared to choose to lead 'me' here and in that sense it is unpleasant. There is still all the usual negative thoughts but there is a knowing that it is impermanent and just a feature of human experience.

It still sucks like but it is not consuming in the same way. I know this makes no sense and I cannot explain it fully, perhaps someone post self could chime in with their experiences of negativity here??? What is the difference between negative experiences pre and post self? This is a question worth exploring in depth at some point.

Anyway, if you have seen no self you can wait for the doubt to arise and then look in the same way as when you saw no self to see if it is true or not. This kind of looking deepens the insight to begin with and it is usual for it to be unabiding.

BTW... if anyone needs help with guiding you can visit LU or Hall of Mirrors on facebook as I have 'retired' from guiding people for the reasons I outlined in the last few posts.


Anonymous said...

nice to see u bck ghost..


StepVheN said...

Great post. I cross-posted this to my own site.

Gh0$T V1Ru$ said...

Hi Abe, good to see you are still about, did you crack this in the end?

Gh0$T V1Ru$ said...

Hi Stephven, thanks for that. This is the post that 'The Trial of Truth Strike' should have been. Notice I borrowed your shipwreck metaphor from your parting post on burning true, but I think it sums up where we are very nicely :)

I am excited about this new approach simply because we are sharing knowledge and understanding which should have been our priority instead of building walls around RT and setting up a siege mentality at the start. I guess we had to go through a phase of stupidity to realise the power of our own delusion.

I feel as though I can explore this place without the burden of any ideology now (except for an ideology of curiosity) and can meet other people looking for truth on neutral grounds.I am confident that we can take the strengths from our past work and make a positive contribution to the wider community. At last, I think we have learnt some valuable lessons and are doing this for the right reasons, and with the right approach.

Anonymous said...

Nop.. stuck with it for while (i was probably conceptualizing too much) had to get job and forgot about this for the rest of the year.

Just recently got bck on this stuff ... i won't stop untill this shit is cracked.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading a lot of RT material in the last week and haven't been able to see the truth of no self yet.

But Very Close I think.

This article just answered my confusion I had about Awareness and Conciousness in relation to RT.

Because while trying to see no self, I noticed that when there are no thoughts, there is still awareness. Still Silent Peacefull. Yet it seems Ciaran did not like to acknowledge this. He said it was confusing things if it was brought up. So I thought everyone on RT was anti this concept, yet it is so clear and obvious in my experience.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in some videos on youtube by Sailor Bob Adamson, a non-dual teacher.

He seems to really clarify and bring together the seemingly opposing viewpoints really well.

Thank you for this info I really needed at this exact time in my life.


Gh0$T V1Ru$ said...

Hi Ron, glad you liked the post.

My take on distinctions between awareness and consciousness is that they are just labels suitable for describing aspects of experience in different ways. In this sense, the RT methodology was based on ignoring this kind of conceptualising, and focussing on looking at real life. Consciousness can be subdivided in to many meanings, such as phenomenal consciousness, being awake, access conciousness (i.e. access high order thought patterns) etc. So even terminiology such as "consciousness" can quickly become confusing.

The RT methodology ignored these distinctions and focussed on what can be experienced. You mention that Ciaran did not acknowledge awareness, which I would disagree with. We have a tendency to objectify awareness by thinking about it, and this is in itself a distraction. With this in mind you are conceptualising about awareness instead of looking for the truth. So Ciaran would probably tell you to stop doing this and shift the focus on to this self that you believe to exist.

The key to the RT method was about simplicity. If you are conceptualising about stuff, you are thinking instead of looking, hence why this was viewed as distraction. Of course, we have to run our deluded reasonings to their logical ends, and thats why I recommend writing down your reasons for believing in the self, and refute them. Then look for this self again, and see what new BS reasoning comes out and then examine that. Essentially, you are trying to discover your own dishonesty and witness it first hand. Then once you realise you were being dishonest, then look for the self in real life. It is a process of scything out where your thinking is based on assumptions, so you can look honestly
at whats there without the preconceived notions that cloud our ability to see what is really there.

Good luck with the ghost hunt :)


Anonymous said...

Hi StepVen,

Thanks for your detailed reply.

Interestingly, the very next morning after I posted, I had what seemed like a breakthrough. I clearly saw that my body moved itself. I was not the doer or mover of the body. This felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and resulted in much laughter.

During the following 2-3 days it was clear there was a major change. Things that would normally upset me had no effect. Like there was no-one there to get upset.

As the week went on the "heightened state" seemed to fade and I did get upset yesterday. This surprised me as I thought that once you saw the truth it can't be unseen.

The fact that the body moves itself is still clear and obvious.

I had turned my attention to the mind now to see if thoughts arise by themselves.

Most thoughts do, however there is still a feeling that an "I" does think deliberately at times. For example when planning future activities. I am continuing to LOOK at that.

This morning I followed your advice and JFLed.

Then I could see that "there is just experience" "the world is inside (me)".

When I stop just looking though, and get distracted by activity, the experience is no longer there.

I'm working on it :)

"You mention that Ciaran did not acknowledge awareness, which I would disagree with. We have a tendency to objectify awareness by thinking about it, and this is in itself a distraction. With this in mind you are conceptualising about awareness instead of looking for the truth. So Ciaran would probably tell you to stop doing this and shift the focus on to this self that you believe to exist."

I'll have a look at this and see what I can see further, however I have already have much experience in "thoughtless awareness". That is just the awareness presence emptiness being that remains when there are no thoughts.

"The key to the RT method was about simplicity. If you are conceptualising about stuff, you are thinking instead of looking......."

Yes that is what I was doing.

"Then once you realise you were being dishonest, then look for the self in real life. It is a process of scything out where your thinking is based on assumptions, so you can look honestly at whats there without the preconceived notions that cloud our ability to see what is really there."

Yes, I can clearly see that many thoughts are BS and lies, especially thoughts in regard to the self and others.

Anyway I can clearly see that I was thinking too much instead of just LOOKING.

And if thoughts come up about what I am looking at, I'll be looking to see if there is any validity to them.

Many thanks for your reply :-))))



Gh0$T V1Ru$ said...

Hey Ron, good stuff, sounds like you cracked it!

Perhaps you could write a brief description on here, for the benefit of other ghost hunters, that clearly delineates the experience of looking and thinking about no self?

Its Rick here btw, not Stepvhen, his fine blog is called Burning True, I recommend you check his stuff out next as a next step, because he has some amazing articles related to avoiding nihilism, and other post gate stuff. This blog has mostly focussed on finding no self, although it is important to note that no self is not the end, it is just the beginning of your journey.

Keep looking my friend there is always further to go, perhaps you could tell us about your A-ha moment too...


Anonymous said...

Hi Rick,

Sorry about the name error.

The A-ha moment came as I was just looking to see if there was an "I" that moved the body, or if the body just moved itself. I made no effort to do anything and just LOOKED to see what would happen.

I clearly noticed that thought/s arose, and the body started moving in accordance with the intention.

Effortless doing.

Since my last post I have noticed that there is just LOOKING.

There is NO ONE Looking.



There NO ONE doing anything.



Sometimes it feels like I am looking around inside myself when I look around at my surroundings. Everything looks very clear and sharp at those times.

It is awesome what Ciaran has started, with the simplification of the search for Liberation to JFL and see that there is no self.

Many people Liberated as a result.

I had been searching for decades. Just 2 weeks ago, I came across a reference to Ruthless Arena. I then read everything I could about that.

Brutal Awakenings

Rude Awakening

The Thunder And The Sunshine

This Blog "Ghost Virus"

Liberation Unleashed YouTube Channel

OneSpaciousness YouTube Channel

This a really clear explanation as well:

A special thanks to Rick for this article which cleared up my confusion about Conciousness and Awarenesss.

I hope many others can find and apply this knowledge as well.

Good luck out there :-))))

NOT Ron :)

Gh0$T V1Ru$ said...

Hey Ron, this bought a smile to my face, welcome to reality!

You may find this insight fades over time, and doubts may arise. Don't fall for the illusion behind no self, which is that your journey is complete. That is where I got suckered in, and where some others are still stuck. Keep looking and exploring :)

I'm really glad you found this blog useful though, stay in touch and let me know how you are progressing without the rose tinted specs!

Gh0$T x

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gho$t,

>>>>>You may find this insight fades over time, and doubts may arise. Don't fall for the illusion behind no self, which is that your journey is complete. That is where I got suckered in, and where some others are still stuck. Keep looking and exploring :) <<<<<

Yes, I find it's easy to get involved in "doing something" that has to be done, and fall back into old habits of "thinking" as if there is a separate self.

But the process has just started, so I know it's OK.

Just a matter of re-seeing no-self when I notice I have fallen back into old patterns.

I know it's just the start of something awesome.

I'll definitely "Keep looking and exploring" :-))))

Thanks again,


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