INTRODUCTION TO LOOKING

August 31, 2014
This issue is now obsolete. For latest references please see: KHTK Mindfulness. The specific reference that updates this issue is What is KHTK? and Mindfulness 1: Observe without Desires.

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This is a set of essays that have come to be known by the acronym KHTK (from the phrase “Knowing How To Know”). This is the first of the KHTK essays. It introduces LOOKING as the key to knowing how to know. The source of this data is the technique of Vipassana meditation, which was taught by Buddha 2600 years ago.

Take a look at the overview of the subject of looking first before you dive into the theory.

COMMENTS ON LOOKING

 THEORY

Looking means to observe and notice things for what they are. To know something, you do not have to label it, or use words to describe it. You simply look and recognize something for what it is.

The key idea is:

LOOK AND SIMPLY OBSERVE WHAT IS THERE WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING, OR ATTEMPTING TO GET AN ANSWER.

Any expectation will add extraneous thoughts to what one is looking at. Attempts to get an answer will also add extraneous interpretation to what is there. Therefore, when looking, do not expect any particular phenomenon, result, answer or cognition.

Often, one is taught to suppress one’s thoughts. For example, in many meditation techniques the primary goal is to make one’s mind blank. In some other meditation techniques one is required to concentrate on a thought at the exclusion of all others. Such actions suppress the ability to LOOK.

It is a common experience to have thoughts, labels, evaluations, opinions conclusions, etc., arise in the mind as one looks. The thing to do is not to suppress anything, but to notice these thoughts, labels, evaluations, opinions, conclusions, etc., explicitly, as they arise in the mind while looking. Any suppression colors and modifies our perception of what is there.

LOOKING DOES NOT REQUIRE SUPPRESSION OF ANY THOUGHTS ARISING IN THE MIND. YOU LOOK AT THOSE THOUGHTS THE WAY YOU LOOK AT ANYTHING ELSE.

When one is not suppressing any thoughts or feelings, and is simply looking without being judgmental, then, in that moment, one is being totally honest with oneself. This is the basis of personal integrity.

These fundamentals of LOOKING apply to all sensory input. The next essay addresses the mental input of emotions, feelings, sensations and efforts.

 

APPLICATION

Probably the best way to get started with KHTK is to find a partner and then do the exercises listed below. You and your partner may alternate as “student” and “guide.”  In the absence of a guide these exercises may be done by oneself.

The guide may help the student as follows.

(A) Go over the theory section with the student.

  1. Answer any questions from the student as best as you can.
  2. Discuss the theory materials until the student is happy and satisfied.
  3. Make sure the student understand the main points highlighted in bold in theory section.

(B) Have the student do the exercises in sequence.

  1. Guide the student per step 1 in each exercise.
  2. Maintain an open and friendly communication about student’s experience on the exercise
  3. Guide the student per step 2 in each exercise.
 

EXERCISES

THESE EXERCISES ARE NOT MEANT TO RESOLVE ANY DIFFICULTIES A PERSON MIGHT BE HAVING. THE PURPOSE OF THESE EXERCISES IS TO INTRODUCE THE CONCEPT OF LOOKING BY LETTING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE IT. THIS MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED QUITE QUICKLY IN MOST CASES.

Exercise 1

  1. Look around the room and observe different objects. Notice if the mind is labeling these objects as you look at them. For example, the mind may present the thought, “This is a lamp,” when you look at a lamp.

  2. If so, then do not stop the mind from labeling the objects. Simply notice the activity of the mind.  

Exercise 2

  1. Look around the room and observe different objects. Notice if the mind is evaluating as you look at them. For example, the mind may present the thought, “This is an expensive lamp,” as you look at a lamp.

  2. If so, then do not stop the mind from evaluating. Simply notice the activity of the mind.  

Exercise 3

  1. Look around the room and observe different objects. Notice if the mind is offering any conclusions as you look at them. For example, the mind may present the thought, “I will never buy this lamp,” as you look at a lamp.

  2. If so, then do not stop the mind from offering conclusions. Simply notice the activity of the mind.  

Exercise 4

  1. Look around the room and observe different objects. Notice if there are thoughts appearing in the mind.

  2. If so, then do not suppress the thoughts from appearing in the mind. Simply notice these thoughts while continuing to look at the objects. 

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Comments

  • vinaire  On November 10, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    Here is my response:

    What I write are my opinions too. My criterion is not the truth or untruth of statements because truth and untruth are relative. I use the criterion of CONSISTENCY. From Data Series viewpoint, this would mean an absence of outpoints.

    KHTK #1 introduces the idea of LOOKING as follows:

    LOOK AND SIMPLY OBSERVE WHAT IS THERE WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING, OR ATTEMPTING TO GET AN ANSWER.

    The parallel idea in Scientology is that of OBNOSIS. Furthermore:

    LOOKING DOES NOT REQUIRE SUPPRESSION OF ANY THOUGHTS ARISING IN THE MIND. YOU LOOK AT THOSE THOUGHTS THE WAY YOU LOOK AT YOUR ENVIRONMENT.

    Any resistance to looking will go against the above two principles. The whole purpose of KHTK #1 is to get those two points across. That is the gradient at this level. At this gradient, the only thing required is a recognition of what is there. The idea of complete as-ising is not there. I am sure the whole document can be improved further, and I am still looking at how to use your input to improve the document.

    As far as pushing thoughts aside is concerned, I have taken up that point later when talking about ATTENTION (see KHTK #7). In my opinion, the attention automatically goes to the area that needs to be looked at, and it moves away from that area when one recognizes what was needed to be looked at. I have covered it also in KHTK #8, UN-STACKING. But based on your input, maybe I need to organize this data better.

    To me the cycle of looking at any stage is completed when attention automatically moves away from that area. As you yourself said that this happened to you suddenly one day, and it is hard for you to describe how you did it. In my opinion, you did it by letting it happen. The key idea here is LETTING THE MIND UN-STACK ITSELF. Any deliberate effort will only slow it down.

    I shall document this exchange on my blog. It may help the revision of KHTK essays.

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  • vinaire  On December 22, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    I added the following sentence to the introduction of KHTK #1:

    “The source of this data is the technique of Vipassana, which was taught by Buddha 2600 years ago.”

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