Looking for guidance

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islander
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Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:36 pm

Hi,

A friend introduced me to this work last week and I am so happy to have this opportunity. I did some one-on-one work with a teacher last summer and realized that there was no self here to seek anything. Since then there has been an increasing relaxation and stillness. Much has changed in how this form shows up in the world.

But I still have doubts at times, which is why I am so fascinated with the work you do. I have read much of the book and listened to a few of the videos. It all resonates as exactly what is true. And yet, I still wonder if this is really “it”. Fear still comes up and sometimes stops me. I still wonder what I should be “doing” with this life. I see inconsistencies in how this life is playing out, and yet I don’t change (except to not respond with self-deprecation – that seems to have stopped). It sometimes feels like being a separate someone is a habit I can’t break. I slip into it and then watch myself doing it!

It sounds ridiculous, but I can’t find a self anywhere and yet I still have to remind myself of that at times. I still look to see if that’s true….which tells me that there is more to see. There’s a recurring question of “isn’t there more?”

I’d welcome your questions and guidance.

Cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:39 pm

Hello Cynthia, my name is Paulo,

You are very welcome here, and thank you for sharing a little of your story. It would be a pleasure to guide you.

A few ground rules firstly -

1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Answer from personal experience only.
4. Read the disclaimer on the Liberation Unleashed main page - http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

If you are happy to agree to the above, let me know and we can begin.

Paulo :-)

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:18 pm

Hi Paulo,

Thanks for engaging. Yes, the ground rules work fine and I understand them. I'm all in.

Cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:31 pm

Hi Cynthia,

Great, I love that positive go-getter attitude!

In my experience it's not all that unusual for people after they have seen to have a few doubts. That's what's so wonderful about the aftercare here at Liberation Unleashed, it helps to deepen and stabilise. For now, we will look at some of those doubts and feelings that have come up for you.
I still wonder what I should be “doing” with this life.
When you say 'I', what are you referring to in direct experience?


[It may be useful for you to learn how to use the quote function here - http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Also, I will be putting any questions I have for you in bold and underlined, so you can see them clearly in the text]

With love, Paulo.

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:09 am

I still wonder what I should be “doing” with this life.
When you say 'I', what are you referring to in direct experience?

Really good question.

Honestly, it comes from a belief that there is someone responsible for this life, a belief that choices matter. And if I keep looking, I can see that that belief connects to the motivation for being a seeker. I carry a belief that I have to be the best I can be in this lifetime. Realizing that makes me laugh. I’m a 3 on the enneagram – an achiever. It really has deep roots that I’d foolishly thought I’d pulled out.

I’m afraid of being no one, of being nothing. It’s been my biggest fear. But who is afraid? Just asking that question makes my chest constrict and my mind go blank. The fear is a fear of annihilation. It doesn’t feel at all rational but grips me. When I sit with it there is no story just pure emotion and physical response. I could explain it away as ego, etc….but the truth is that would not be dealing with that fear.

I’ll continue to sit with this and will write again tomorrow. I feel right up against a wall. Any help seeing that the wall doesn’t exist would be appreciated! 8)

Cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:43 am

Thank you for your open and honest response Cynthia, it’s that honesty that will help you most along the way.
I’m afraid of being no one, of being nothing. It’s been my biggest fear. But who is afraid? Just asking that question makes my chest constrict and my mind go blank. The fear is a fear of annihilation. It doesn’t feel at all rational but grips me. When I sit with it there is no story just pure emotion and physical response. I could explain it away as ego, etc….but the truth is that would not be dealing with that fear.
In my experience, feeling fear around the thought that ‘I’ is an illusion is something that can be expected, and we can take a look at this right away -

So let us use direct experience to teach us about fear - you may wish to take a quiet moment alone to look at this one – Close your eyes and think of what it is that’s currently activating fear for you. It doesn’t have to be a ‘thing’ or a ‘person’, just whatever caused the reaction you shared in the paragraph above.

Allow any fear that arises to just be there. Notice where you experience fear in the body – watch it, study it. Let it be there for as long as it’s there.

Share what you experienced.

Paulo :-)

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Hi Paulo,

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with this since yesterday.

I sat quietly last night with the thought of being no one and the fear came back, though it is very subtle. My chest constricts, my throat closes, my breathing is shallow. It feels very existential, but maybe all fear is such. I couldn’t find “thoughts” behind it other than the one posed and even that seemed disconnected from the response. But as I sat there, I started to notice the sounds in the room, the clock ticking, the cat breathing while asleep, someone walking around upstairs. The fear response was just another thing arising in the space. And as my awareness expanded, the fear seemed one-dimensional, or maybe even less than that. Just a sensation arising without any content or meaning. Then it receded to nothing and there was just stillness, an effortless meditation. I realized that I have usually approached meditation as something to do and in reality it’s just what I am.

Until the question arose, “Is this all there is?” I had to laugh at the persistence of the “I”, of the me wanting more. But it was very clear that not only is that all there is, but it’s infinitely rich and totally empty. At the same time, I could feel a resistance to surrendering to that, as clear as it was. I’ve been there before.

Ironically, as I was falling asleep twice I bolted awake with a distinct fear I was going to die during the night. That’s never happened before. I finally got up and sat with it again and again the fear dissolved when it was seen to have no substance.

I awoke during the night a few times. Once I noticed that my back was touching the sheets, and I was hearing the frogs out the window, and it was cold on my face, but all those sensations were just happening – there was no me having them. There was no unifying element, they were just arising. I stayed awake for a long time like that….or should I say there was awakeness? Maybe I was both awake and asleep. I'm not even sure who was having the thought.

This morning I sat again with the thought of being no one. There is still a bit of fear that arises, more an autonomic physical response. I wouldn’t even notice it if I wasn’t paying close attention. It dissipated quickly and once again I fell into a very alive stillness.

So that’s what I’ve seen so far. I apologize if it’s rambling. Please poke and question – I am eager to see more.

Cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:38 pm

This morning I sat again with the thought of being no one. There is still a bit of fear that arises, more an autonomic physical response. I wouldn’t even notice it if I wasn’t paying close attention. It dissipated quickly and once again I fell into a very alive stillness.
I really like your observations Cynthia, very precise, and very detailed, excellent. You can see that a thought triggers a feeling, which arises, stays for a while, and then dissipates as other thoughts and feelings take its place in awareness. You may have observed the 'alive stillness' too was just passing through.

What is behind the fear you feel, what is the fear protecting?

Experience that same fear again using the exercise in my last posting – this time observe it closely - VERY closely. Look. Look deeply into the fear and watch it, can you find an ‘I’ there generating the fear?

Paulo :-)

[By the way, 'rambling' postings are good - writing ideas out can help to clarify. Just keep them focused on the question or task and a good ol' ramble can be great]

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:02 am

Hi Paulo,

The answer is no, I can not find any source for the fear other than thoughts, thoughts that carry some story that isn't even worth examining....and I can't find a source of those either. It's really stunning. I've meditated for years and been well aware that thoughts were not "me", but at some level I must have believed that with fear it was different. Well truthfully -- I just never looked, never questioned the fear. It's very easy to see. There is nothing there. It made me burst out laughing. Now I can't even find the fear to do the exercise.

It's been a hectic day but I will try to write more tomorrow.

Thank you.
Cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:32 am

Hi Cynthia,
Now I can't even find the fear to do the exercise.
Very nice, that gave me a good laugh - hilarious!

---------------------------------

Let's look at THOUGHTS in a little more detail today -

Think of a car.

Share your experience of what happens when you think of a car in as much detail as you can.

How did the thought arrive? Was there a Cynthia there choosing the particular car that appeared in thought, it's colour, size, etc?

How did that particular car appear from all the possible cars that could have appeared?


Paulo :-)

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:46 pm

Share your experience of what happens when you think of a car in as much detail as you can.

Hi Paolo,

This was pretty interesting. I did it 3 times.

The first time, as I was looking at the car, it was like watching a movie. There was no me or I that seemed to be in control of the thoughts about the car. Yet the visual of the car was very clear! The choice of what car just arose, as if chosen. It felt like from an intelligence before me. I realize that sentence will get me in trouble, but that was the experience. What was coming into thought was not created by a “me”. That was very clear. But once the car was there, I could manipulate the view, create detail, etc. In other words, I could add to the thoughts.

The second time a car that I don’t know exists popped up, again from who knows where. And the third time an image of a friend’s car popped up. Honestly, all the images and thoughts felt like they were pulled out of memory. There was nothing created by any “one”.

What’s curious is that my sense was that what originated as thought was not from an “I”, but the “I” was created when the thought appeared. Wow. The “I” is in the movie! Without the movie, the “I” doesn’t get created.

But it’s constant. “I” thoughts are constantly forming. I feel under attack! WHO feels under attack? I don't know whether to laugh or scream.….help. I’ll continue with this and hope to hear from you soon.

With much gratitude,
Cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:43 pm

Hi Cynthia, I love you responses - keep them coming!
It felt like from an intelligence before me. I realize that sentence will get me in trouble, but that was the experience.
You certainly won’t get into trouble for anything you share here – it’s all experience, and the more honest you are the smoother things will go – you’re doing just perfectly Cynthia.
What was coming into thought was not created by a “me”. That was very clear. But once the car was there, I could manipulate the view, create detail, etc. In other words, I could add to the thoughts.
Was there really a ‘you’ there manipulating the thoughts, or were the thoughts just changing, later to be assigned an ‘I’ label? We can look into this experience very easily –

Picture a white horse standing in a green field under a tree. See if you can hold that picture constantly in your awareness without it changing for 60 seconds.

When I say ‘without it changing’ I really do mean ‘without it changing’ – not a thing must change, not a blade of grass stir, no change in colour, not even the ‘camera angle’ can change.

If there’s a ‘you’ in control this should be easy, right? Can it be done, or do thoughts trigger other thoughts, which trigger other thoughts … and so on in a never ending automatic, almost mechanical, stream of experience?

Share what you experienced.

Paulo

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:07 am

Picture a white horse standing in a green field under a tree. See if you can hold that picture constantly in your awareness without it changing for 60 seconds.


Paulo -- I realized this without the exercise the day before. Since I've begun this inquiry, the thoughts seem to be racing at times. It's hard to even sit quietly. Very unlike my usual experience. But as I was sitting, it occurred to me that if there was an "I" in charge, the thoughts would be organized, they would link together and be rational. In reality, the thoughts appear rather randomly. More as if the thought arose, and then an "I" arose to make sense of the thoughts. But really the "I" is just another thought added into the mix!

And no, the visual of a horse can only last a fraction of a second.

All of that said, there is still a sort of center of gravity in my experience that believes there's an I as a default. That thoughts are not me, that I am not centered in my brain or my body -- I had seen that. That "I" is only a thought - that realization, or the clarity of it, is new. Why can't the seeing and the dominant perception be one?! What's clear is that the path to this gate is unlike any I've taken.

I await your direction....cynthia

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Paulo
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Paulo » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:52 am

In reality, the thoughts appear rather randomly. More as if the thought arose, and then an "I" arose to make sense of the thoughts. But really the "I" is just another thought added into the mix!
Very nice Cynthia, you can see that thoughts arise in reaction to stimuli. They also arise in reaction to other thoughts, which is why a thought is not a static thing. All this happens automatically, and as you have seen there is no ‘chooser’ there selecting what thought comes next, it’s purely ‘mechanical’. One of these thoughts, as you have recognized, is the thought that there is an ‘I’ shaping our thoughts. It’s all part of the experience.
Why can't the seeing and the dominant perception be one?!
Well, you tell me - let’s take a closer look.

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Consider this statement as you go about your daily business (perhaps write it on the back of your hand as a constant reminder). Observe, and share what you find.

Paulo :-)

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islander
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby islander » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:38 pm

Hi Paolo,

I’m sorry I didn’t write sooner but I was letting this question/exercise percolate. I will try not to write with a lot of exclamation points but it has been momentous….
Nothing exists outside the present moment.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of labeling. The present moment is before thought. Though thoughts arise, they are just another thing happening within awareness. Car passing, thought arising. Just seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking happening. “I” is nowhere present.

It’s also without time. There is no experience of time. And without emotion (except for a pervasive sense of positivity, or all-rightness). Emotions arise and pass through the body, like the car passing.

I knew those things conceptually, but this all arose as true and clear, immediate. There is only experience. Not an experiencer. All is just happening and there is no one having an experience of something else. No subject/object. Subject/object is a concept, a collection of thoughts. (I’m holding back on the exclamation points but when this became clear the word that came out of my mouth is not printable)

Seems as if the sense of "i" is losing its grip. Or I am not I'ing! Words are so inadequate. I'll leave it at this so as to reconnect, though I will stay with the inquiry.

lots of love,
Cynthia


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