How do I return to Pure Awareness?

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Angelika
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How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:37 pm

Hello & Thank you very much for creating this space!

My name is Angelika and I am 52 years old.

I came here because I saw the URL of The Gate posted in a thread of Eckhart Tolle TV Forum.

My question is,

In moments of almost overwhelming emotional sensations (of rather unpleasant nature) in my body or continuous thoughts running through me in the Present Moment, how can I return my attention to Pure Awareness?
I have difficulties to do so and I wonder, if there is an unconscious belief in me that keeps me stuck in my reality?

Thank you very much for listening!

Very Sincerely,

Angelika

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jowate
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:10 pm

Hi Angelika,

I'm John. I've not actually guided on LU before, but I've many years experience as a meditation teacher and that includes a lot of practice and teaching around pure awareness. I've found the approach offered here extremely effective, personally (not that a 'person' is to be found any more!)

I notice your last sentence is quite interestingly ambivalent: "I wonder, if there is an unconscious belief in me that keeps me stuck in my reality?" Certainly there's an unconscious belief in "me" and it does keep us stuck in our (fabricated and often painful view of) reality. So seeing through this self-view is absolutely essential! If you'd like to work on this here with me, let me know.

John / jowate

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Angelika
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:00 pm

Hello John,

Thank you for reading and answering. Do I call you John or Jowate?

This is my first time here on LU.
Ambivalence, yes I have seen and felt this attitude in me.
So I would like to work on the / my matter here with you.

Thank you very much!

Angelika

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:46 pm

That's great - call me John :)

I'll get back to you (later this evening I hope) with some suggestions to start with, and we can take it from there. Meanwhile, a little bit of information about your spirtual / seeking background would be useful, if you're ok with that.

John

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:49 pm

Hi Angelika,

As I said, seeing through the self-view (that ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘myself’ exists in any way at all as a real entity) is crucial. It’s the doorway, the ‘gateless gate’ which opens to how things really are. How things really are can be described as ‘pure awareness’ … among many other possible ways of talking about it. The point it to realise it directly and the LU approach of ‘direct pointing’ is to focus strongly on just this one thing – seeing & knowing beyond doubt: there is no self.

So I just need to ask you to confirm, first of all, that you really want to do this, in this way.

The approach is very direct and effective and when complete, opens up to pure awareness (or whatever you want to call it) spontaneously. I found in my own practice that a tiny lingering doubt or unclarity about no-self was really clouding things in such a way that even though pure awareness was ‘self-recognised’, a lot of suffering and views/behaviour causing suffering was still happening. Since seeing through ‘self’ completely, these views/behaviours have been unwinding in a marked way that I’ve never known before.

If you’re up for this (and do write back on this point), there are a few other considerations that you’d need to take on while your engaging in this process.

First, for the duration, please don’t read other kinds of ‘spiritual literature’ (or watch video clips etc.) This is to enable the process of enquiry & investigation to remain focussed.

Second, please respond to my questions with 100% honesty. The questions aren’t just to be thought about and given a conceptual answer – they are pointers to investigating directly, experientially, whether a ‘self’, ‘me’, ‘I’ can be found. Investigating means looking – looking with awareness, looking with all the senses, but not just thinking it through. That would be a waste of time!

If you’re ok with all this – and feel free to write your responses, ask questions or whatever – then I’ll give you the first (still somewhat preliminary) question to start off the process of investigation / looking / clarification.

All the best,

John

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Angelika
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:45 am

Hello John,

This is my reply to your message from 6:46.

In my first three decades of living openings or gaps to Pure Awareness happened to me, which I did not understand for what they were back then.

Christianity never worked for me, not even as a child. I experienced a natural non-attachment, I may say.

Around my mid thirties I took refuge with Lama Ole Nydahl. This was my first conscious approach to learn about a different way to experience and understand life - situations.

About 10 years later I had an inner experience where I found my attention shifted into a realm beyond all physical, mental and emotional form. I wanted to remain there entirely, but of course I could not.

After this experience I was not interested any longer into spirituality, until my friend told me in 2008 to watch Eckhart Tolle and Oprah. I gave it a try, actually to prove to myself that ET was just another spiritual teacher. When I watched a tiny bit of one video, I broke out into tears and responded with waves of emotions.

I stared listening to Eckhart Tolle´s teachings and became a member of ETTV since it started in 2009.

Opening up to spirituality once more, I experienced all kind of energetic movements within my body as well as periods of long Stillness with very little thinking going on.

I understood, that the inner purpose, to be aligned with That what I really am, is the first and most important task I have here in this realm, called Earth or world.

What I do comes secondary.

I am currently working on a project, that I named "doingisbeing". This turned into my motto with all I do, meaning I experience that I have to live, apply or embody doingisbeing as I go further.
And if I drop out of the Present Moment, pain arises.

Angelika

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:14 am

Hello John,

This is my reply to your message from 8:49 pm.
On purpose I answered your first message before having read your second message.

Yes, I am ready to see through myself = persona = personality completely.
This is why I got the rights to write here.

I understand the difference about observing all physical senses, emotions or merely thinking through concepts, identifications.

I feel the difference in my body. :) Awakening happens through my body. If I did not have my body - mind, there would be no need to awaken from form to the formless.

I know that I need assistance to go further, very much like a midwife´s assistance when giving birth to a child.

I gave birth to three children, and I know that the body actually knows how to give birth.
It was the "me" that brought in the fear and anxiety and for this reason I was very grateful to have a midwife next to me.

I acknowledge that I shall not watch any spiritual videos or read and watch any other spiritual resources during the process.

I do yoga almost daily, Can I continue with this?

I will respond with 100% honesty.

May I express my deep gratitude to you for offering to work with me here and starting off the process.

Thank you very much indeed.

Angelika

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:11 pm

Hi Angelika,

Thanks very much for both of your posts here. The first one was helpful to read – I sense parallels between what happened ‘there’ and what happened ‘here’ – the important stuff, anyway. As I said before, the complete dropping of the self-view seems to be what really makes the difference when it comes to genuinely moving beyond the cause of pain. Mind-made pain, that is – the capacity to experience what we call bodily pain is there as long as what we take to be ‘the body’ is there.

It’s essentially seeing/knowing on a direct and experiential or intuitive level that what we call ‘self’ and so on just doesn’t exist, never did. Even though what the mind might label ‘selfing’ or ‘selfish behaviour’ or ‘ego’ still manifests (as we’re pointing to what Buddhism calls ‘stream entry’ not full awakening or enlightenment here) it’s known directly that this to is not an never was a really-existing ‘self’. It’s just behaviour, conditioning. Once this is known, the ‘gateless gate’ has been passed … it’s just a metaphor, there’s no gate at all, that’s the whole point! All that happens it a recognition that this is in reality how it has always been. In LU we call this ‘liberation’, meaning liberation from the belief that we are or have a ‘self’ in any sense.

Ilona uses the metaphor of ‘Santa Claus’ quite a bit & I came up with the same one several years ago as it’s useful for making the point quite clear. The point being that although a kid may believe in Santa, Santa never actually existed – he was a fiction, a figment of the imagination. ‘Evidence’ that Santa was there may have occurred – presents appeared under the Christmas tree, maybe ‘Santa’ was even glimpsed leaving the presents, and he sure was right there in the local shopping mall! When the kid realises that all this is made up and Santa never was, there might be a bit of emotional resistance at first, but then life goes on. He or she doesn’t spend the rest of their life thinking ‘Santa doesn’t exist, Santa doesn’t exist!’ – it’s not an issue any more. Nor is there ever again a return to believing in Santa.

So it’s very similar with the self view. As long as it’s believed that there is a ‘me’ here, the doer, the experiencer, the mind can bring up plentiful evidence that ‘I’ really do exist. This evidence is so compelling that most people never even question it. But like you, those who for whatever reason become ‘spiritual seekers’ may actually begin to question it, or come across teachings that question it and that somehow resonate with one’s deepest heart, even if the mind doesn’t understand. Then we turn things around, and look at the ‘evidence’ for self directly, using meditation, vipassana, mahamudra, satsang, self-enquiry or whatever methods presents themselves. And, of course, there is this approach, ‘direct pointing.

There may well be some resistance and fear – this is normal, though not inevitable. When the self-view is seen through as fake, usually nothing remarkable (apparently) happens. Life carries on, problems carry on, our particular personality and habits carry on. But the belief that there is ‘someone’ doing this, someone ‘responsible’ has vanished and cannot come back – it’s been seen through for good. And it becomes evident that having dropped this belief, things actually are being seen quite differently, actions begin to modify ‘of their own accord’ – particularly ones that now can very clearly be seen to cause or underlie pain.

This is just the beginning of an ongoing process, performed by ‘no-one’. You could say it’s a matter of opening more and more fully to ‘what we really are’, and as I wrote yesterday, ‘pure awareness’ is one way of talking about this. So you could say that the ‘gate’ opens, the divided ‘me-other’ mind drops away and what remains is undivided awareness, another term for pure awareness.
I hope that’s enough theory – it’s important to get the parameters of what we’re doing on this forum clear from the start. This is about realising not-self directly, nothing else.

I’ll reply to your second answer later as I need to go out now. Meanwhile, do feel free to raise any questions about what I’ve just written. The we’ll get down to business!

Best wishes,

John

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Angelika
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:12 pm

Hello John,

Thank you for your further explanations.

I understand.

It is about realizing not-self directly, nothing else.

This is why I am here.

As Adyashanti put it once, "Rearranging my egoic patterns is like
rearranging the deck chairs on my own Titanic”,
and I am done with this.

Very Sincerely,

Angelika

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:39 pm

Hi again Angelika,

I’m responding to your second post.
>> Yes, I am ready to see through myself = persona = personality completely.
This is why I got the rights to write here<<
Great!

Also very good, and important, that you recognise the body-mind distinction (physical senses as distinct from conceptual mind). This is fundamental.

What you mention about the body knowing how to give birth is very good too. Now you can begin to see how this is true of everything – all of the senses and arisings do as they do without any self. This has always been the case.

Ok, so with your undertaking those basic ‘ground rules’, we can shortly move onto the investigation / direct pointing. No problem about doing yoga, it’s just about conceptual input – the point of this is simply to keep focussed on this method; other kinds of investigative / insight methods, and even reading about them, could create unclarity or confusion. So this is just until you find yourself – well, no-self really - through ‘the gate’, which really doesn’t have to take long at all if you really focus.

Just one more intermediary question, your response to which will give me a clearer idea of how we proceed, and another which is the first investigation as such.

· What do you expect / hope the outcome of this will be?

· What do you take your self to be? What does it do, how does it manifest, where does it reside?

This second one requires you to look directly, with awareness, at exactly what is appearing as ‘self’ right now and from moment to moment – what (if anything) is so to speak saying ‘this is me, this is my self, this is Angelika’?

So take your time to look, reflect, write and send me your responses when you’re ready.

It’s really a privilege to work with you – and it’s a passing on of my gratitude, in turn.

Best wishes,
John

p.s I'm going to be away over the weekend and not able to get internet access, so I may not be able to respond to your next post(s) until Monday.

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:40 pm

(I like the quote from Adyashanti!)

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Angelika
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:08 am

Hello John,

Thank you very much for your reply.

You being unable to reach the internet for a couple of days turns out to be a serendipity for me, since it takes away self made pressure on my side for not performing effectively and fast enough.

This is a forming of ego - self, I become aware of, yes?

May I ask a question?

You wrote, "all of the senses and arisings do as they do without any self."
I do not understand this yet.
I thought that my self is choosing the arisings in my everyday life situation, partly unconsciously, by only seeing what resonates with my ego - self - persona.

Here is my answer to your first question, " What do you expect / hope the outcome of this will be?"

I want to move forward from the knowledge of who I really am to the knowing of who I really am.
I want to step forward from the concept of Pure Awareness, into an abiding Awareness of Pure Awareness.

I want to live in liberation of the narrowness of my "personal" perception.
I want to cease adding suffering to myself and others.

I want to live awakened to who I am.

To answer the second question I need to observe more what happens in the Present Moment.

Thank you so much!

Very sincerely,

Angelika

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Angelika
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:04 pm

Hello John,

I use this space as a writing pad to list the realizations on the second question you asked, as they come.

· "What do you take your self to be? What does it do, how does it manifest, where does it reside?

This second one requires you to look directly, with awareness, at exactly what is appearing as ‘self’ right now and from moment to moment – what (if anything) is so to speak saying ‘this is me, this is my self, this is Angelika’?"

My self forms from via the thought "I spent too little time with a person". I hear the thought and I add it to me;
The very thought causes a contraction and this contraction adds "energy" experienced as heaviness to my present moment experience.
As a result I feel bad and suffer.

I smell lavender and experience an opening in my body. The thought, "Yes, I love lavender" follows the bodily sensations. My attention shifts from the actual experience to the I - the me. A new thought arises, "I am the one who loves lavender."

I realize that I "maintain" positive and negative identifications, which form my idea of me.

I will post this part of my answer in order not lose what I wrote and continue with my observations and report :) later.

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Angelika
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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby Angelika » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:44 pm

Reply part II

Seems like my self resides in the region of my forehead. I feel this part when I feel my self.

My self is like an "auto - active" file system, that collects and stores thoughts.
When something happens in the present moment, my self seems to automatically search through the storage and throw out the thoughts which seem to match the event. All this happens as a reflex, without any observation, consideration, or contemplation.

A notice: Today I have recurring head aches, which disappear as I relax.

. . .

While doing yoga, I ask the question, "Where is my self?"
I could not get hold of my self.
Almost as if my self is "see - through".
Though I felt a pulse from the area of my sternum going upwards in my body.

May I end here for today.

I hope your weekend was most enjoyable.

I wish you a fine start into the new week!

Very Sincerely,

Angelika

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Re: How do I return to Pure Awareness?

Postby jowate » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:59 am

Hello Angelika,

Just responding to part 1 of your reply here!

I’m glad you saw through that ‘performing effectively’ view. Generally, it’s good to keep the sense of momentum going with this and one exchange per day would be ideal, but ‘ideals’ can’t always be realised! That’s true of me as well. So feel free to take longer to reply if you need to.

You observed ‘this is a forming of the ego-self’. It might be more helpful to look at it as mere conditioning or conditionality in action. The ego-self doesn’t exist – it’s a belief, a mere mental imputation on the experience that arises. That, of course, is the whole emphasis of this direct pointing.

Actually, this relates to what you wrote next:

“You wrote, "all of the senses and arisings do as they do without any self."
I do not understand this yet.
I thought that my self is choosing the arisings in my everyday life situation, partly unconsciously, by only seeing what resonates with my ego - self - persona.”


There are behaviours that the mind identifies with ego – self – persona. But these behaviours don’t arise from an ego or self, because there never has been an ego or self. The truth of this can be seen and known directly, so don’t be concerned if you don’t ‘get it’ now – that’s exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing here!

The most helpful approach would be to suspend your views or opinions while looking at your direct experience – really look, to see what really is going on. Again, that is what we’re going to be doing. You’re going to find, directly, experientially, that the ‘self’ or ‘ego’ cannot be found anywhere. Views influence and even form what we suppose we ‘see’, so the best attitude is one of openness and ‘don’t know’ mind.

Anyway, to your response to my first question.

“I want to move forward from the knowledge of who I really am to the knowing of who I really am.”

– I take that to mean that you want to move from intellectual or conceptual knowledge to direct, experiential knowing. Yes, clear conceptual understanding is important as a basis, but as you know, it doesn’t in itself actually change anything – certainly doesn’t impact on the experience of life as painful.

“I want to step forward from the concept of Pure Awareness, into an abiding Awareness of Pure Awareness.”

Pure / undivided awareness is said to be ‘self-known’ when the mental structures that divide reality into ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, ‘me’ and ‘other’ completely collapse. In other words, awareness knows itself – it’s not that ‘I’ know awareness, because ‘I’ doesn’t refer to anything at all – ‘I’ am not. So again, it comes down to seeing through the ‘I’ – me, self, ego.

“I want to live in liberation of the narrowness of my "personal" perception.
I want to cease adding suffering to myself and others.
I want to live awakened to who I am.”


That’s all good – but as ever, bear in mind that ‘I’ is just conventional language. The nature of our language constantly reinforces the sense of ‘I’, and it’s helpful to notice this. We don’t have to stop communicating in the normal way – the point is to recognise that the words ‘I’, ‘me’ and so on don’t refer to any real ‘entity’ at all, they’re just conventions.

Notice that there are words that refer to ‘things’ that are really experienced such as ‘computer’, ‘wall’, ‘window’, ‘birdsong’, ‘heartbeat’.

Then there are words that refer to ‘things’ that exist conventionally but can’t be found as such if you look for them. For instance, ‘countries’ only exist in the human mind – they don’t exist for migrating birds and other animals. The same applies to any human institution, for example ‘government’. There are government offices, buildings, officials and representatives, but you can’t point to any of these as being THE government, the ‘essence’ of government so to speak.

This even applies to what we talk of as ‘my body’. Where is ‘my body’? What is ‘my body’? – is it the head, the brain, the eyes, the intestines, the liver … ? Well, it’s obvious that the word refers to the sum of all of these, in a way, but ‘the body’ as such is just a designation. Animals, again, don’t have a concept of ‘my body’. There are more fundamental levels on which we can explore and question the very nature of what we call ‘the body’, but we’ll come on to these later, if we need to.

There are also words that refer to purely imaginary entities, such as ‘Santa’ or ‘James Bond’. These are fictions and, while we might once have believed that Santa existed, we certainly don’t any more, while fictional characters like James Bond are known as fictional all along.

So this is something you need to be clear about. Words referring to genuine experiences, words referring to conventional, shared understandings of ‘things’ which in a sense exist, but cannot be ‘found’ as such, and words that refer to imaginary entities that never existed.

So, in terms of our actual experience:

Firstly, ‘seeing the wall’ refers to a genuine experience, a genuine sense perception.

Secondly ‘body’ refers to ‘this’ which is genuine insofar as there’s undeniably ‘something’ reading, typing etc, but as such, as an independent entity, can’t be found – it can be analysed almost indefinitely, right down to sub-atomic particles / waves … so where is this thing ‘my body’ really to be found?

And thirdly there is ‘I’ or ‘me’ – the self, the perceiver, the owner, the doer which we believe we are, and which is a complete fiction, a mere belief. Perceiving happens, thinking happens, doing happens, but there is no perceiver, no thinker, no doer, and there never has been. So this is what needs to be seen through, because this belief is the underlying cause of all mental pain and suffering.

So just take this in and reflect on it as you need – tell me whether it’s clear to you or whether you have any doubts or unclarities or questions.

All the best,

John


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