Seeking guidance

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nowwhat
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Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:42 pm

Thanks

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ray
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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:02 pm

Hi,
What do you expect will happen here?

What are your expectations?
How will this feel?
How will this change things?

Warmly,
Ray

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nowwhat
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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:37 pm

Hi Ray,
What do you expect will happen here?
I expect that we will engage in dialogue, that you will lead me in an investigation that I must undertake honestly and directly. That through direct experience I will be investigating if there is a separate "me" or "self," or if in fact life is being lived by no one. I expect to really look, to confirm things in my own direct experience.
What are your expectations?
I expect to carry out this investigation until I am able to confirm through direct experience that there is no self and that there never has been.
How will this feel?
Liberating. It will feel relieving because this search can be let go of and the seeking can cease. It will feel like an unshakable deeper knowing.
How will this change things?
There won't be as much "self-conscious" feeling and sensation around "other people." Feelings of psychological anxiety will diminish. Self-referencing thoughts will relent or at least be seen as irrelevant. Not as much protecting and defending of "self." The body will be less constricted and contracted, as a result. Freedom to walk in a room without worrying what everyone thinks of "me." More of a sense of ease.

-M

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:44 am

Hi M,

Is there a first name I can address you by?
Timezone and age?

Here are a few ground rules,
1. Please post at least once a day and inform me if this is not possible.
2. In general, I will ask the questions for you to respond to
3. Reply with your utmost honesty
4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too.
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we shall begin.

A word of advice:
When writing a long post in the text editor, it might be a good idea to periodically copy and paste your text into notepad or another text editor on your computer, as it is not uncommon to be logged off automatically and lose all your text.

Your expectations seem fairly reasonable, but please set these aside, and then set them aside again for this investigation. Any expectation can get in the way of seeing.

To see that there is no self is to look as if for the first time without expectations or judgements.
I cannot stress enough that thinking is not seeing.

What brings you here?

Ray

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:47 pm

Is there a first name I can address you by?
Timezone and age?
Matt, mountain time zone (US), 32.

No problem with the ground rules.
What brings you here?
It has been seen many times over the last several years that there is no self. However, there has been a gravitational-like pull back into self referencing thinking, feeling and sensing. For instance, there will be a crystal clear seeing when speaking to a teacher or doing self-inquiry but after a few days or longer, like a REFLEX, a physical sense of self kicks back in, often in public situations, and the body feels contracted and nervous for no appropriate reason (there is no danger), as if there is something to protect and defend. It is then felt that even though it was seen clearly that there is no self, the body/mind organism's self-referencing reflexes trump the seeing. Presently, even over the course of a single day, the seeing/self conscious reflexes can go back and forth several times: First a seeing of no self, then very uncomfortable self-conscious contractions, back to a seeing. Ugh. Now hoping to see through direct experience that there is no self, once and for all.

Thanks.

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:14 pm

Hi Matt,
It has been seen many times over the last several years that there is no self. However, there has been a gravitational-like pull back into self referencing thinking, feeling and sensing. For instance, there will be a crystal clear seeing when speaking to a teacher or doing self-inquiry but after a few days or longer, like a REFLEX, a physical sense of self kicks back in, often in public situations, and the body feels contracted and nervous for no appropriate reason (there is no danger), as if there is something to protect and defend. It is then felt that even though it was seen clearly that there is no self, the body/mind organism's self-referencing reflexes trump the seeing. Presently, even over the course of a single day, the seeing/self conscious reflexes can go back and forth several times:
When the idea of a separate self "kicks back in" is there the knowing that this is an illusion? Can you just look again and see that there is no self?
What is your expectation here - do you expect that once and for all the illusion is seen through and it will never be experienced again, even temporarily? Is it a problem that feelings sometimes occur as if there is a separate self?

When the old habit kicks in there are 2 ways that you can react to it. You can either resist it, or you can accept it completely. What effect will each of these reactions have?

Warmest regards,
Ray

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:50 pm

When the idea of a separate self "kicks back in" is there the knowing that this is an illusion? Can you just look again and see that there is no self?
There are often reactions (physical, emotional, mental) that indicate that the sense of a separate self is in play. Being defensive, feeling self-conscious, etc. The physical self-conscious reaction around "others" being the most uncomfortable. Yes, as I mentioned, I do look again and see that there is no self. This cycle has been in play for a while now. It seems that just looking again to see that there is no self has not been sufficient to root out these self-conscious reflexes.
What is your expectation here - do you expect that once and for all the illusion is seen through and it will never be experienced again, even temporarily?
My expectation is that the illusion may be seen through to such an extent that the sense of self will not be so pervasive in everyday life. The seeing through of the illusion of Santa Claus is used regularly here. Life does not go on as if Santa Claus is real. However, life does go on as if "I" am real. The body is constantly acting as if "I" is real.
Is it a problem that feelings sometimes occur as if there is a separate self?
The sense of contraction. The self-consciousness. The living out of uncomfortable reflexes as if the illusion were real. Yes, you could say that this is a problem. Though, I'm not sure I would use the word "problem." If discomfort based on illusion can be considered a problem, then yes, this is a problem.
When the old habit kicks in there are 2 ways that you can react to it. You can either resist it, or you can accept it completely. What effect will each of these reactions have?
Resisting it will create even more tension, making it worse. Accepting it is something I've tried often, though it seems the old habit is not diminishing due to acceptance. It seems the old reflexes could continue and be accepted indefinitely. I am here because it seems there is a better option than this going on indefinitely.

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:16 pm

Hi Matt,
Thanks for your honest reply, that will help to make progress here. It sounds like you have a good intellectual understanding, but that experientially some work is needed to deepen seeing.

Try this exercise, and spend some time on it.
Look at labeling. Choose any object, a cup, a pen or whatever. Pick it up, look at it and notice the mind automatically labeling it. Also notice the values, memories, thoughts, feelings and so on associated with those labels. Now, continuing to look at the object, let the labels fall away, let them subside. If you notice more labels take them off one by one. Sit for a while with this object that is now without name or label and write back with what you notice.

Next close your eyes, turn your head then open your eyes. Looking in this new direction, notice the brief pause before labeling kicks in. That gap is he sort of "thing" we are looking for here.

Write back with what you find.

Ray

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:19 pm

Continue this unlabeling exercise by turning your attention 180 degrees. look at yourself and let the labels fall away.

Ray

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:47 pm

Thanks for the exercise, Ray.
Look at labeling. Choose any object, a cup, a pen or whatever. Pick it up, look at it and notice the mind automatically labeling it. Also notice the values, memories, thoughts, feelings and so on associated with those labels. Now, continuing to look at the object, let the labels fall away, let them subside. If you notice more labels take them off one by one. Sit for a while with this object that is now without name or label and write back with what you notice.
In fact, I picked up a glass and the mind hadn't labelled it a glass or added any associations until the decision arose that for the benefit of this exercise, I should label the glass a glass and then let the label fall back away. Unlabeled, as it was when I initially picked up the glass, and when the label fell back away, there an intimacy with the glass, an unspoken immediacy. No me and the glass, just seeing the glass.
Next close your eyes, turn your head then open your eyes. Looking in this new direction, notice the brief pause before labeling kicks in. That gap is he sort of "thing" we are looking for here.
This gap of non-labeling is actually a fairly common, baseline state of seeing. The gap is pretty steady in much of daily activities. The gap was not prominent, however, an hour ago, when I was walking down the street, struck very uncomfortably with the self-conscious feeling that I was somehow on stage. Thoughts weren't the issue, more of the physical self-conscious sensation: Acute attention on my facial expressions, the way I'm walking, etc. Also a cringing when I feel I am being looked at or watched. This is the reflex that I had been referring to. I can inquire in that moment, re-confirm that there is no self, but the physical self-conscious reflex does not diminish. Hyper self-conscious, in fact, regardless. It's like there can't just be walking, breathing, observing--no, the alarm bells are constantly sounding, acute discomfort. Then home, everything is quiet, the gap is once again in the foreground. No longer the feeling of being on stage. Such contrast, being in private or in public. Probably sounds pretty strange.
Continue this unlabeling exercise by turning your attention 180 degrees. look at yourself and let the labels fall away.
No labels really to begin with. No thing there.

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:48 pm

Hi Matt,
This gap of non-labeling is actually a fairly common, baseline state of seeing. The gap is pretty steady in much of daily activities. The gap was not prominent, however, an hour ago, when I was walking down the street, struck very uncomfortably with the self-conscious feeling that I was somehow on stage. Thoughts weren't the issue, more of the physical self-conscious sensation: Acute attention on my facial expressions, the way I'm walking, etc. Also a cringing when I feel I am being looked at or watched. This is the reflex that I had been referring to. I can inquire in that moment, re-confirm that there is no self, but the physical self-conscious reflex does not diminish. Hyper self-conscious, in fact, regardless. It's like there can't just be walking, breathing, observing--no, the alarm bells are constantly sounding, acute discomfort. Then home, everything is quiet, the gap is once again in the foreground. No longer the feeling of being on stage. Such contrast, being in private or in public. Probably sounds pretty strange.
Nope, that does not sound strange. These feelings of self-consciousness are something that you clearly identify with. Are they built around events in your past (in the story of your life). Do they get energy from that? Do they get energy from some projection of what may happen if you are observed or something? Maybe you see this as a problem! LOOK is there some way that this can be a key to seeing clearly through self view?

Try this. You are sat at home comfortably. Imagine you are in a situation where those feelings are strong. Feel it in your body. Make it real (or make it as real as it can get).
Be in this moment. Welcome the feelings and look at them. Look behind them at what they are protecting. Look behind that, what is there?

Regards,
Ray

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:59 pm

Hi Ray,
These feelings of self-consciousness are something that you clearly identify with. Are they built around events in your past (in the story of your life). Do they get energy from that?
These feelings of self-consciousness are a part of the story. There are events and circumstances where they have been prominent. However, these feelings are not energized by the stories. They are a physical reflex and have been there before I can remember. There are videos of me as a little kid (like 3 or 4) with the exact same reactions. No need to be energized by a story for them to occur. It's like a physical manifestation of the sense of being a separate self that is triggered when feeling "on stage." It feels like the sense of being a separate self, boiled down to its essence and then magnified throughout the nervous system. It really feels like the last main vestige of the how the illusion manifests in the body.
Do they get energy from some projection of what may happen if you are observed or something? Maybe you see this as a problem! LOOK is there some way that this can be a key to seeing clearly through self view?
When being observed, it's like the default place for attention to return to is on feelings of self-consciousness. It is a spontaneous physical reflex. Even if the reflex is totally forgotten beforehand, it still occurs automatically. It almost feels like a mild panic attack. This really feels like the fundamental, gut-level knot. A physiological self-conscious reaction that feels like irrational fear (and IS irrational fear). It certainly feels uncomfortable and therefore problematic and feels directly related to the illusory self. It seems like the illusion is where the feelings get their energy--what the projection is, I'm not sure. It's like a natural sense of effortless operating ceases, and now everything is done as if I were on camera and were feeling camera shy.
Try this. You are sat at home comfortably. Imagine you are in a situation where those feelings are strong. Feel it in your body. Make it real (or make it as real as it can get).
Be in this moment. Welcome the feelings and look at them. Look behind them at what they are protecting. Look behind that, what is there?
The feelings feel like shame, at their base. Shame of nothing in particular. An acute sense of feeling freakish. Not physically freakish, more like a feeling of being an escapee from an insane asylum that everyone is on to. These are not thoughts that occur, mind you. Just trying to describe the nature of the reflexive feelings. When the natural ease is lost, every action feels like an effort to compensate for its loss. Trying to breathe normally, trying to accept, etc. It's like whatever activity was being engaged in is no longer primary, that it has become secondary, and the feelings are now at the foreground, dominating attention. What are the feelings protecting? Looking deeply. Maybe they are protecting against being judged. Protecting what from being judged? Protecting some private sense of specialness and defending the exposure of some deep-rooted sense of inferiority. What is it that is inferior, and to whom is that inferior? Looking, looking. No clear answer. Just the felt sense of separation, of differentness. Because of the fact that these are such physically prominent feelings, it seems that there is still some identification with the body. Behind these feelings, there is space, just this now.

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:44 pm

Hi Matt,
Good work with looking at this.
When being observed, it's like the default place for attention to return to is on feelings of self-consciousness. It is a spontaneous physical reflex. Even if the reflex is totally forgotten beforehand, it still occurs automatically. It almost feels like a mild panic attack. This really feels like the fundamental, gut-level knot. A physiological self-conscious reaction that feels like irrational fear (and IS irrational fear). It certainly feels uncomfortable and therefore problematic and feels directly related to the illusory self. It seems like the illusion is where the feelings get their energy--what the projection is, I'm not sure. It's like a natural sense of effortless operating ceases, and now everything is done as if I were on camera and were feeling camera shy.
Is this reaction protecting the illusionary sense of separate self and keeping you in a seemingly comfortable illusion rather than seeing clearly?
What are the feelings protecting? Looking deeply. Maybe they are protecting against being judged. Protecting what from being judged? Protecting some private sense of specialness and defending the exposure of some deep-rooted sense of inferiority. What is it that is inferior, and to whom is that inferior? Looking, looking. No clear answer. Just the felt sense of separation, of differentness. Because of the fact that these are such physically prominent feelings, it seems that there is still some identification with the body. Behind these feelings, there is space, just this now.
"Behind these feelings there is space." That's great, there is space. Is there anything real that needs protecting?

Look at the process of thinking. Where do thoughts come from? Thinking happens. Is there a thinker? Is "I am thinking" a thought. Check this out. Seeing happens. Is "I am seeing" also a thought, does it occur with the seeing or does "I" do the seeing. What process is involved.

Let me know what you find.
Ray.

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby nowwhat » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:26 am

Thanks, Ray. I really appreciate your direction with this.
Is this reaction protecting the illusionary sense of separate self and keeping you in a seemingly comfortable illusion rather than seeing clearly?
This may just be semantics, but the reaction and illusion are uncomfortable, not comfortable. But yes, the reaction perpetuates the illusion (and vice versa). It helps to keep the sense of separation alive--it feels like its last lifeline. So gut-level.
"Behind these feelings there is space." That's great, there is space. Is there anything real that needs protecting?
I think I have read Ilona and Elena write (and others maybe) that yes, the body is real, unlike the "self." And the body is where the sense of separation occurs. So, wondering if maybe a lot of these bodily sensations of separation and nervousness, how ever irrational or exaggerated, are about protecting the (real) body.
Look at the process of thinking. Where do thoughts come from? Thinking happens. Is there a thinker? Is "I am thinking" a thought. Check this out. Seeing happens. Is "I am seeing" also a thought, does it occur with the seeing or does "I" do the seeing. What process is involved.


"I" refers to nothing. Literally, "I" would just be a thought occurring as part of this body/mind organism's activity. There is no "thinker" because "thinker" would imply that there is some separate entity responsible for thinking thoughts. In fact, thoughts occur spontaneously, with no creator, in much the same way that breathing, digesting, and pumping blood occur. These activities occur, but to no one. Within a body, maybe, but not to a "separate me." "I am thinking" would just be a thought. The "I" in that sentence refers to nothing. About the process, let's say the body is tired. Long day, or whatever. To communicate this, the words "I am tired" are written (I am pretty tired). But there is no "I" that is tired. Just a feeling of tiredness being communicated. Right now, the "I" thought seems so ludicrous, and there are none such passing through the field of awareness.

Yes, seeing happens. "I am seeing" is just a silly thought. There is no "I" seeing. Seeing is another natural function of a body capable of sight. To personalize the ability is to add a false layer. This is "seen" clearly at this moment.

Currently feeling like the illusion of selfhood is getting some serious body blows, jabs and upper cuts, and that it has been knocked down a few times, though maybe not knocked out. Bloodied and breathing heavily, having retreated to its corner, it may be prepared to fight another round. We'll see if it has any ummph left in it, maybe some further questioning (or time) will spell a knock out.

Thanks again, Ray.

Matt

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Re: Seeking guidance

Postby ray » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:07 pm

Hi Matt,

Today's pointer is

Take the day off

Well the illusion of having a day off, anyway. LOL
There's a limit to how much battering an illusionary self can take, before it has to throw in the imaginary towel.
So take it easy on yourself today. That looking can go on in the background. Just relax and release from the seeking and striving.
Do something you really enjoy, listening to music or taking a walk. Be with the simplicity of it.
ray wrote:Is this reaction protecting the illusionary sense of separate self and keeping you in a seemingly comfortable illusion rather than seeing clearly?


This may just be semantics, but the reaction and illusion are uncomfortable, not comfortable. But yes, the reaction perpetuates the illusion (and vice versa). It helps to keep the sense of separation alive--it feels like its last lifeline. So gut-level.
Yes, I was referring to it being "easier" to be stuck in a false belief rather than let go of the illusion of separation.

Oh BTW, that was a faultless description of seeing, thinking and the "I" thought. Just one thing, does the "I" thought happen with, or get attached after the other thoughts?

Look forward to hearing from you later,
Ray


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