How do I ignore thoughts?

Q: Is the rule of this inquiry to ignore thoughts?

A: No, it’s not about rules. Thoughts are not disregarded by rules.

Q: OK, because rules are just more thoughts, right?

A: Rules are based on beliefs. But we do not exclude thoughts based on beliefs. Rather we are investigating the validity of thoughts, if what thoughts are saying are actually in line with experience.

Q: But in order to see Truth, I must disregard thoughts or disidentify with them.

A: Can you see that there is still a belief that there is someone here who must disregard thoughts or disidentify with them?

So what is it? What is it that is currently identified with thoughts?
What is it that is standing apart from thought and has the ability to disregard them?
What do thoughts happen to?
Is there someone outside of thoughts, being identified with them?
Where is the mysterious, unknown, outside entity?

Q: I don’t see anything. But we spend our whole lives trying to make sense or understand ourselves and the world around us.

A:  Please look at what you are saying and notice the beliefs and assumptions there.

There is a belief in separate selves, selves that are separate from the whole / life / existence, and each fragmented and isolated selves are living their lives in a world, which these assumed selves (like bubbles) are separate from.

But in reality, there is only existence, whatever is happening right now.
There are no parts, no fragments.
Existence is not like a jigsaw puzzle with millions of billions of pieces.
There are no pieces at all, there is only existence / life / what IS, which is whole.

Q: But in order to see this, I have to ignore thoughts, haven’t I?

A: It’s not simply about ignoring thoughts, but rather to SEE thoughts for what they are. Just fantasies, just figments of imagination, without any roots in reality.

Just notice what is ‘underneath’ all thoughts.
Thoughts add an overlaying narrative of names, labels, interpretations, explanations over the simplicity of what is.
Instead of endlessly reaching for ideas, concepts and explanations, just let it all go, and see.
Just see what is here now silently, without words.
Just notice what is left when you stop thinking about it.

In order to ignore thoughts, there has to be someone outside of thoughts, who has volition and the ability to ignore them.

So ‘ignoring thoughts’ are about dualism and separation and a belief in an agency with free will.

Thoughts are always out of step with reality, and they obstructs the clear seeing of how things actually are.
Reality is very simple.

Once you can see this, you will stop endlessly frustrating yourself by trying to figure out how things are.
Just look, what is it that is separate from what is, and trying to figure out how things are?
Is there a self or me here, who is separate and isolated from what is, from reality, and thus is in need to understand reality?

Truth or reality is not an idea or a belief.
It cannot be grasped by thoughts.
It does not need to be understood by the intellect.
Actually, it is impossible to understand through thoughts.
It is inconceivable, ungraspable.
And yet, it can be directly seen.

Seeing is wordless, and immediate.
The taste of chocolate is immediately and silently (wordlessly) known, since it is not conceptual.
As soon as the label ‘taste of chocolate’ is added, the immediacy of experience is veiled by conceptualization.
Any form of description is an abstraction, which is added after the immediate experience.

Q: OK, I get it. But how do I wake up from this conceptualization? And how do I stay awake?

A: Do you believe that there is an I that can wake up or be awake?
What is it that could be awake?
What is it that awakening could happen TO?
Is there someone separate form life, waiting to wake up to reality?
Is there someone who needs to let go of conceptualization?
Or letting go happens on its own effortlessly, when the futility of trying to grasp what is with thoughts is recognized?

Thoughts are never the real deal.

Noticing that there is no separate self can only ever happen right here now

Q: I saw it in the past that there is no separate self, so why should I look more? I already know that there is none.

OK, so you are referencing back to a memory of a previous looking.

But realization does not exist in the past.
Only here now.

So in essence, it doesn’t really matter what has been seen yesterday, an hour ago, or even a minute ago.

The only thing that matters what is SEEN or NOTICED in this very moment.

Now… and now…. and now…

So the question is: can you see it now that there is no separate self governing life?
Can you see it now? And what about this moment? Is it clear now? And this moment? What about now?

Or is it now just a memory you hold onto?

If I cannot see something in this very moment, then I cannot see it. Then it is just a belief in this very moment, since I rely on a memory, it is not something that I experientially recognize now.

Therefore, looking always has to be afresh. You can never rely on a memory.

What is a memory anyway? Isn’t it just a thought that is appearing now?
So when you rely on the memory of a previous seeing, then is it a present experience, or it is just a thought story in this moment?

Can noticing of what IS happen any other time than now?

Why would you go to dead thoughts, while this moment is presently alive, here now?

Why not notice what is here now?
What do you need those memories for?
To perpetuate the notion that there is someone who saw in the past?
Someone who is searching, and can get awakened sometime in the future?

To keep the notion of an enduring entity who is living through time and space?
Where is this entity, now?

Can you notice here now that this is just a story about a character who is set on a journey towards awakening?

The story is here as the present thought, but where is the character?
Is the character also here?
Or is it just a baseless assumption?

Notice what is here now.
There is nowhere else to go or be.
Just this.

All words are symbols


All words are symbols.
All symbols are conceptual.
They are not reality.


Reality is what actually is, regardless of the absence or the presence of any symbol or word.

Reality is what still exists after we stopped thinking about it.

Like the word ‘apple’ is just a symbolic representation of something that is real.
But is the word ‘apple’ the real thing itself?

So there is the real deal, the real thing that can be experience by seeing it, touching it, tasting it and smelling it. And we can label this experiencable thing as ‘apple’, ‘fruit’ or ‘food’.

But even if we use different labels, those labels point to the same thing.
In this case, all the three words points to the same experience of colors, shapes, smells, tastes, textures, what we collectively call as an apple.

If I am eating an apple, but I stop thinking about it, the apple (the experience which the word points too) won’t disappear.
The actual thing  (experience) remains even in the absence of labels.

Similarly, we can investigate if the words of ‘Vivien’, ‘body’, ‘consciousness’, ‘me’, ‘entity’ are pointing to a same thing, or not.

We can also look into if these words are actually pointing to something real, something experiencable, or there is no actual experience, actual reality behind those words (or some of these words).

Like the word ‘economy’ doesn’t point to anything real.
It’s purely just a concept, which can ever be defined by other concepts, but it never becomes an experience.
So it’s just a man-made idea, just an artificial concept, and not a reality.
The word ‘economy’ doesn’t point to anything real, just to other ideas, just to more thoughts.

We have words for things that can be experienced through the five senses.
Like the thought label ‘apple’ that is a name for an actual object or thing.

And we have words that give a name or label to something that cannot be experienced through the five senses.
These ‘things’ can only be thought of, but never experienced, since they do not actually exist. They just imagined.
Like the thoughts of Santa, weather, or economy.

That is the difference between experience and fiction.

So what about the word ‘I’ then?
What is ‘I’ a name for?

Private Sessions

I offer two types of one-on-one private sessions: inquiry into the self, and inquiry into emotions (which sometimes overlap).

Inquiry into the self

This inquiry is for you if…

  • You have an intellectual understanding of there being no separate self, but you don’t know how to see it for yourself as a first-hand experience
  • You are longing for awakening and want to realize what it means that “you are not who you think you are”
  • You have already had glimpses, but you feel that something is holding you back from the experiential recognition of what you know to be true
  • You often find yourself thinking about the past and imagining the future, instead of noticing the ever changing present moment experience as it is
  • You would like to discover what beliefs you hold that create the feeling of being separate from life
  • You can see that you are not the body-mind, yet you don’t know who or what you are
  • You feel you are stuck in the witness position
  • You have had experiences of there being no real inherent me/ego, but this recognition has been gradually fading, and now it is mainly just a memory
  • You are tired of being a long-time seeker, and for once and for all you want to stop seeking by finding what you have been searching for
  • You have had the realization of the absence of a separate self, yet the sense of separation still persists
  • You feel ripe and ready to finally put aside all books and videos, and do an inquiry of your own experience, so you can finally live the recognition of there being no inherent separate me/self
  • You have gathered a plethora of expectations how awaking should be like, and you suspect that your expectations might be in the way of seeing things clearly in this moment as they actually are

If you would like to have several sessions at certain intervals, then I can give you exercises and pointers — based on our conversation — to investigate on your own between sessions.

If you would like to have a taste of the inquiry into the self, please read the home page.

Inquiry into emotions

This inquiry is for you if…

  • You have already recognized that there is no real inherent me/self, and yet you don’t feel free because of certain patterns and emotions repeatedly coming up and blocking you from being at ease
  • You would like to release deep rooted beliefs you hold about yourself — like “I am not good enough” or “I am not lovable”
  • You would like to discover what beliefs you hold that create suffering in your life
  • You are on the path of awakening, but you have some addictions — like cigarette, food, spending too much time on social media — that you would like to finally let go of
  • You would like to decondition and unlearn old patterns of feeling that don’t serve you anymore
  • You feel ready to face your fears and see them in a different light
  • You would like to live freely from regrets of the past, or feelings of guilt and shame
  • You would like to perceive your emotions differently, without the need to run away from them
  • You are already on the path of awakening, yet you often worry about the future and you don’t know how to stop worrying and live in peace
  • You are seeking freedom from the incessant stream of stressful thoughts
  • You have realized that no matter what you do, you are always dissatisfied in one way or another
  • You often feel resistance or aversion to certain things or people in your life
  • In spite of all your efforts on being on the right path, you don’t know how to forgive yourself or other people

Please make sure to read the Disclaimer before booking a session.

If you would like to have a session with me, you can get in touch with my by filling out the contact form.

What is ‘my’ identity made of?

What is your identity? Do you have identity or are you the identity?

Are you a human, a man, a mother, a hard worker, a good or respectful member of society? Are you the daughter or son of your father and mother?

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Have you ever really seen your mother or father? Have you ever got real interaction with them or have you just been interacting with your story about them?

What are your parents? Do they really exist independently from your interpretation? Or are they just thought stories appearing in the moment? Are the stories about ‘your parents’ part of ‘your’ identity?

What would you be without the stories of ‘your father’ and ‘your mother’?

‘My father’ is just a story, a mental construct with associated attributes.
My mother is who I believed her to be.
My parents don’t exist without ‘my’ interpretation.
The bodies that are called my parents are real*, but all their attributes and characteristics are projected by ‘me’.

Every time I meet with my father (or just think of him), the whole story about ‘my father’ is projected onto him, and all my reactions and behaviours towards him are the result of reacting to this image of ‘my father’, and not to that body that is called ‘my father’.

And it is not only about my father. I react to everybody – who resembles ‘my father’ even just the slightest (my boss, my neighbour or the high school teacher) – as if they were ‘my father’. When this projection happens and the story is believed, and therefore resulting reactions arise – the sense of ‘me’ emerges.

 The ‘I’ lives through these stories. The ‘I’ lives through projections.

‘My father’ is part of my identity.
My identity is nothing more than a collection of stories appearing as content of thoughts in the present moment.
Without these stories, the ‘me’ don’t exist. The ‘me’ live only in stories.
My parents are ‘my’ faces looking back from the mirror.
I am the story about my parents.
I am ‘my parents’.

Two individuals can never really meet. I cannot see you, I cannot hear you, because I can only see and react to ‘my’ story about you. The whole world is my projection. Nothing exists without me.

There is no ‘you’; I can see only ‘myself’ in ‘you’.
‘You’ are just an image in the mirror reflecting back ‘myself’.
I am both the projector and the projected image.
‘You’ are ‘me’.

* (the body appears real in conventional reality, but not in direct experience)

If there is only oneness, why can’t I feel your pain?

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Question: “I AM is all that is, all One. Then, why would a truth realised person feel the physical pain only when it is pertaining to his/her body and not when someone else is hurt in front of that person? If there is no one inside the body then who is that that feels the physical pain when the body is hurt or diseased?” 

In these questions there are several assumptions that need further investigation.

At first, a truth realized person does not exist, because there is nobody to become truth realised. There is only ‘realisation’ or ‘awakening’. But it does not happen to anybody. There has never been an ‘I’ than could be liberated, not even a body.

142.4The questions about pain are based on the assumption that there are an objectively existing body and others (other bodies). However, in direct experience (experiencing with the five senses, experiencing prior to thought) it can be clearly seen that there is no body either. There are only certain sensations (like seeing, hearing, feeling/touching, smelling, tasting) – and based on these experiences a mentally constructed image of the body ’emerges’. But this image is nothing more than an idea. The body-image cannot be experienced directly, although, thoughts persistently suggest otherwise.

In the immediate direct experience, pain does not originate from the body, because there is no body; there are only sensations that are labelled as ‘body’. The body is a mentally ‘constructed’ image that arises simultaneously with a sensation tagged as ‘pain’.

Similarly, there is an assumption that there are others (other bodies). While you read these words, there is a mentally constructed ‘Vivien’ with the assumption that these words were typed by her. But in direct experience there are only words, letters on the screen. ‘Vivien’ or the other person is just an assumption, an idea. But even this is not totally the case. In ‘reality’, there are not even screens or words. There is only seamless colour-ing. There is only seeing. In order to ‘recognise’ a word or a screen, a mental concept of a word or a screen has to emerge as a current appearing thought or a mental image. But mental concepts are just interpretations layered over the current experiencing.

One could say that it is relatively easy to see this with the words on the screen but what if you are standing face-to-face with another person? In direct experience, what is the other person? How is it experienced?

The so called other can be seen, touched, heard, smelled or even tasted. But actually, there is only seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting. From these experiences a mental concept of ‘other’ emerges, believing that this is a human being, a woman, alive, X years old who is talking to me about her pain right now. All of these are projections. The direct experiencing of seeing, touching or hearing does not imply all of these. There is not even a link between the sound and the sight, yet alone ‘her pain’, only thoughts connect them claiming that ‘she is talking’. So, in the immediate direct experience, where is the other? Is there an other?

It is not about seeing or believing that ‘your body’ and ‘my body’ are one and the same or feeling ‘your pain’, but about seeing that there is neither ‘your’ or ‘my’ body in the actual immediate experience. Both of them are just mental constructs projected onto the sensations.

There is no independent ‘reality’.
There is no division, only thoughts divide.
Whatever ‘I’ see in ‘you’ is ‘me’.
‘I’ fill the mental construct of ‘you’ with attributes.
‘I’ am ‘you’.

And yet, in our everyday life (in conventional reality) we behave as if these mental constructs were ‘real’. There is nothing wrong with the body-image or any mental constructs – they are beautiful and most of the time quite useful. However, seeming ‘problems’ can occur when they are mistaken as ‘reality’ and not seen for what they are – simple thoughts like birds flying by.

Getting rid of the ego… is it possible?

214.1

Many seekers believe if they could successfully get rid of the ego then they would achieve ‘liberation’ or ‘enlightenment’. But what is the ego?

Some ‘spiritual teachers’ talk about the ego, others avoid using this word for various reasons. But even those who mention it, they also frequently emphasise that the ego is just a mental construct, nothing real – and yet, it is so often misunderstood…

When we hear or read something, there is an unconscious tendency to ignore everything that does not fit into our worldview or belief system, and spot all words or comments that can be moulded into our framework by projecting our beliefs onto those words. As a result, we perceive these teachings coinciding with our convictions.

214Seekers often say things like this: “My ego wanted to convince me that I should do this. …. I’m slowly shedding my ego but it’s holding on for its dear life… But I know it won’t win, the chains are already broken.”

In these types of statements the ego is assumed to be real, as if the ego was a tangible entity, accompanied by another unexamined assumption that there is a ‘me’ somewhere sealed behind the skin, over which the ego can have full power. The ‘real me’ or ‘my higher self’ is under the tyranny of the ego that needs to be liberated. The war is on…

But when I want to conquer, get rid of, change, manipulate or transform something, then the result could be quite the opposite that was hoped to be achieved in the first place. The mere resistance strengthens what was intended to get rid of, because nothing can be resisted without believing in it first. So, the ‘thing’ is being believed into ‘reality’, and now there is a war against it. But war against what?

The battle is only between mirages.

There has never been a self or a ‘me’ that could get rid of the ego.
Similarly, there has never been an ego either that could fight for its life or have a power over anything.

Ego = me = I = self
There is no difference between them, and none of them is real.
You do not have to get rid of the ego.
Who would get rid of it? The ego?
A thought cannot get rid of anything.

When it is seen that the whole story about the ego and its clinging to ‘its life’, are just simple appearing thoughts nothing more, then the seeking can end. There is no difference between the thoughts of “I’m thirsty, therefore I drink a cup of tea” or “I’m slowly shedding my ego, but it’s holding for its life”.

A thought is real only as an appearing thought, as a phenomenon, but never its content, what the thought is about.

Awakening cannot be achieved.
Awakening is not about doing something.
Awakening is un-believing.
Awakening is stopping believing in something that is not real.
It is about stopping doing. It is doing nothing.
It is non-resistance.

What is resisted is strengthened

One of the natural tendencies of the human ‘mind’ is to label and interpret whatever arises in this moment. This mental narrative is not problematic by itself, and it is not necessary (or even possible) to get rid of it. Wanting the ‘mind’ to stop labelling or thinking is completely futile. It won’t happen, at least not for long.

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There are millions of labels that can be attached to anything that appears in this moment, but in general, these tags are either about approaching or avoiding what has just arisen. It is either put into the category of desired (positive) or undesired (negative). Things are rarely interpreted as neutral, and even when it happens the ‘unimportant’ tag comes with it, so it is ignored and forgotten quickly.

Let’s say, I have an important appointment at 9am, but I have been stuck on the motorway for an hour now because the car has broken down, so it is certain that I cannot be there on time. This situation is definitely labelled as bad and undesirable. As time goes on, the body gets more and more tense and ‘I feel terrible’ due to a mental story that has emerged around the situation. The contraction in the body is uncomfortable, so I want to get rid of it. I try to relax and push my thoughts away, but in vain.

When something ‘unpleasant’ happens, there is a habitual tendency to avoid it. However, the avoidance itself strengthens what was intended to be eliminated. The more ‘I’ want to get rid of something, the better ‘I’ get attached to it.

The ‘reason’ behind this phenomenon is that when I want to get rid of something it means that its ‘reality’ is already approved. I would not want to eliminate something if I had not believed that thing is real and true. And when something is believed to be true, how could it be obliterated?

Thus, the body cannot relax while the labels about the situation is believed and taken seriously. It does not mean that ‘you’ have to love the situation and happily cover it up with a positive affirmation: “How good it is, I have just lost a thousand dollars because I could not get to the meeting. I am so happy”. Overriding resistance with ‘positive thinking’ won’t help either.

The liberation is hidden in the core belief (label) — ‘this is bad’. The current circumstances are completely neutral, only the conditioned thought-tags suggest otherwise. ‘I’ project meaning onto the situation.

The car has broken down. I am stuck on the motorway. I won’t be able to get to the meeting. So, I’ve just lost a thousand dollars. – These are ‘facts’. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I want to redo it or undo it, IT IS AS IT IS.

And even the labelling nature of the ‘mind’ is part of the flow. When the story is seen and not believed, the movie of ‘my’ life is watched without identifying with the main character, ‘I’.

Arguing with what IS, is totally futile.
Arguing with what IS, is a conditioned habit.

What is resisted is strengthened.
Resistance is a guaranty for suffering.

Whatever IS, I don’t want it

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Humans are almost always not satisfied with what IS. This dissatisfaction can fluctuate on a spectrum from mild discomfort to full blown suffering, and can be artificially divided into two categories.

Probably the most unbearable sufferings can come from self-referencing beliefs, which are the building blocks of our seeming self-image or identity with a core belief that I am incomplete, unworthy, unlovable, guilty, or whatever it might be – because deep down most of us ‘feel’ we are somehow not good enough, not complete; something is missing. But is this really the case? Is it really true? Where is this apparently deficient self? Where?

The other type of suffering is much more subtle; it is a constant arguing with what IS. No matter what is in this moment, but one thing is sure: ‘I do not want it’. Either I want the previous moment back or the next moment, but definitely not THIS. But actually, the statement ‘this moment is not good enough’ – is just a thought, nothing more.

256In the morning at breakfast, there is a fantasy about how good biking will be later in the afternoon. However, when biking happens, the mind wanders imagining eating the cooled watermelon from the fridge when I will be at home. Later, while eating the watermelon, thoughts come up demanding to check the emails. When reading the emails happen, it is labelled by the mind with a thought as boring, with an accompanying fantasy about how much better biking around the lake in the afternoon was.

Meanwhile, the sense of ‘me’ is sustained by the  story of my life. And the whole story revolves around only one character, called ‘me’. The ‘I’ is the centre of the universe, residing at the centre of its own projection. Everything is interpreted through the filter of a huge web of beliefs that constitutes the self.

The sensations in the legs while pushing the bike, the pumping of the heart in the chest, the warmth of the sun and the stroke of the breeze on the skin, the sight of the glimmering lake and the sounds of the twittering birds, the coolness of the watermelon in the mouth – are all lost and replaced by a dream

There is a constant dissatisfaction with what IS.
Because in this moment ‘I’ do NOT exist.
In this moment, without a mental commentary, there is no self to be found.
The ‘me’ lives only in thoughts.

But the thoughts or the stories by themselves are not problematic, only believing them creates the illusion of their realness. In direct experience, there are just thoughts and images passing by – empty, meaningless. Their meanings emerge only when they are believed and not seen for what they are – simply just thoughts.

Suffering comes from resisting what IS.
Without resistance there is no suffering.
Without arguing with what IS, there is peace.

What dies when I die?

254The ultimate fear of humankind is death. We fear to cease to be. But death is not what we think it is. If our parents or society had not told us anything about dying or death then we would not have any idea about it, we would not even know what it is, let alone fear it.

Then what is death? There is a constant flow of experiencing while the body is alive, until it is not. We label it as death. In one moment the organs of the body are functioning; in the next, they are not. They are changing into something else. Is this bad? Does this change have any innate nature of badness?

In one moment there is experiencing, in the next, there is not. Can death be experienced when there is no experiencing? When you go to sleep, do you experience death? Do you fear not waking up the next morning? Is there any difference between going to sleep every night and death?

Death cannot be experienced, because death is an idea. Fear of death is a resistance to the concept of death. Fear lives only in thoughts. Without believing thoughts there is no fear, just the flow of life, perfect as it is.

Death does not exist in direct experience; and yet, this is probably the biggest bugaboo the mind could ever invent. Fear of death could not exist without projecting the belief in the separate self onto the body. If I think that I am the body, then I fear death. But I am not the body, because the ‘I’ is just a thought. Can a thought fear another thought?

Actually, what we really fear is losing our-selves. We think that there is a separate entity sealed behind the skin, and when the body perishes, this supposed entity will cease to be.

The ‘I’ that fears death cannot die because the ‘I’ has never existed. If this is seen then there is no fear of death because there is nobody to fear it. There is nobody to die with the body, because there is no entity living behind the eyes.

What are lost during the process of dying are the beliefs that constitute ‘me’. The components of self-image crumble, and when it is resisted it can trigger fear. “What is going to happen with my precious collection of matchboxes? What about my achievements? I am not finished yet with my plans. I have always dreamed about a happy retirement with lots of travelling, and spending time with my grandchildren. How could I accomplish all of this if I am gone? Has there been any meaning of my life at all?”

But in reality, nothing is lost. All of this was just dreaming about a non-existent past and future, with a ‘me’ that lives only in past images and future fantasies.

Nothing ever dies, only the imagined story of ‘me’.
‘I’ cannot die. What has never been born cannot cease to be.