Looking for Guide

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peterdan
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Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Sun May 12, 2013 1:33 am

Hello,

I am looking for a Guide.

I have read quite a few of the threads on this site and feel the technique seems to resonate with me and might give me some more clarity on the true nature of existence.

The "seeing that there is no self" is something I feel I have experienced already during a retreat with a Non-duality teacher called Rupert Spira. He did some guided meditations where I was able to see and experience that all sensing, perceiving, thinking etc is just "Experiencing" or by another word: Awareness and that there is no separate self but we have taken on the false belief that we are separate entities.

It felt like a big shift had happened and I felt a great sense of peace and joy. On the retreat we were encouraged to take our stand as Awareness instead of the usual separate self that we are are programmed to and which is reinforced by the society we live in.

However a few weeks later I found I was getting triggered into emotions like jealousy or sadness.
The Non-duality approach to dealing with emotions is to explore it and see clearly that we are getting upset on behalf of a nonexistent entity and then there is nothing there to resist what happens and therefore nothing to be upset.
This is all very well in theory but the reality is that these emotions seem to take over and effect my state of peace and joy regardless of the seeing that there is no self.

Other teachers suggest it's necessary to go back and heal the old emotional wound that got triggered by the recent event and until that is done we will continue to get triggered.

It seems to me that we are incarnated into a body and thus the situation we are born into shapes the way we develop - our personality etc; We learn to respond when someone calls our name and see ourselves as this person with this name and personality. Our brain is wired to make choices based on all previous experiences we have had - sometimes these are patterned responses we continue to do in the same way until we become conscious of the pattern and can then choose to break it.
So it seems like Life makes us the way we are and despite having a sense that we are in control of what happens, it's more like we are characters in a game that are programmed to behave in a certain way (which leads me to ponder is it possible or necessary that we break out of this programming?).

So I get it that there is no doer and Life is just happening.

But there are still things I have confusion over - (and let me know if this isn't the kinda thing that I shouldn't be bringing up at this point or on this site) :

If we don't control our thoughts, is it the case that we simply have the illusion of choice or free will?

Other areas of confusion:
I find myself pondering whether I should quit what I'm doing and do something else.

In my relationship with my girlfriend, when I feel like I need more time to myself - I don't know if this is the non-existent self wanting to be on it's own or something else?

I get confused about when action is required or do I just let things happen; Living in acceptance of the way things are but then wondering I'm just being a doormat or apathetic?

So I suppose I am looking for a Guide who can give me some clarity and perhaps some pointers on how to reconcile the non-existence of a self with the reality of living in normal society in a separate body with a personality and ego etc.

If you feel up to the challenge I await your message.

Thanks,
Peter

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Mon May 13, 2013 1:00 pm

Hello Peterdan,
I would be willing to guide you with some agreements between us. First read the disclaimer if it wasn't already read. Second set aside any ideas or questions you have at the moment and lets focus on direct experience. There needs to be contact at least once daily. The answers to my questions need to be as open and honest as possible.
Try to keep your answers as direct as possible in line with experience. Also , it would be good to go over any expectations of what liberation is and what the thoughts are about how it might change your life. Confirm these agreements if they are acceptable so we can start. Thank you, Metta777
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Mon May 13, 2013 3:20 pm

Hi Metta777,

Thank you for your message.

I have read the disclaimer and agree to it's terms.

I agree to set aside any ideas or questions I have at the moment and focus on direct experience.
I set my intention to answer your questions in as open and honest a way possible.

At this stage I'm not really sure what liberation really is. I have some vague notions which I feel I got a glimpse of when I first saw that I was not really a separate entity during the non-duality retreat I mentioned.
I felt a real sense of peace, love, happiness and one-ness with all life. This however seemed to fade after some time. I'm not aiming to try and get that state back - I don't feel unhappy in my life and feel I am doing well, going with the flow these days but I do get the sense sometimes that I am perhaps missing some final piece of the puzzle if that makes any sense?

My thoughts on how liberation might change my life: I suppose I think that perhaps liberation might help me remain in a place of peace, love and connectedness in times of difficulty when the usual human drama comes up and tends to push me into acting out of ego or a separate-self. I guess I also feel it might give me more clarity in my life.

I usually find it's better to not go into things without expectations and will do so here if you recommend it?

I will aim to contact you everyday, but I should point out that I live in a small town in Guatemala at present and it is not uncommon for the power to sometimes be out for days at a time and thus my internet access may not always be possible.

If this is acceptable to you, I am ready to start :-)

Wishing you a nice day,
Peter.

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Mon May 13, 2013 10:02 pm

Ok Peter,
Then lets get started. Let's clarify first if there is a you? How do you know whether there is a you or not? It was noticed that you mentioned, " reality" in the first note. What is reality? Answer from What is being experienced and clearly as possible. Thanks, Metta
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Tue May 14, 2013 6:24 pm

Hi Metta,

You asked:
Is there a you?
I answer my name when someone calls it, but having looked into my experience I am not the body or the mind but can see that there is only an ever-present field of awareness that notices sensations, perceptions and thoughts. There is a personality - but this is something that is learned or programmed from the time we are born when other people call us by a certain name and interact with us in a certain way and the experiences that are experienced.

When I look to see where this awareness is located I cannot find a location or a border in which it is limited to. It does not have an age or a gender.

A sense of self seems to get constructed from the story of our life, from our memories etc. and we then tend to act and react based on this.

When I mentioned "reality" what I was alluding to was, that I know I am not separate self but I am living in a world where the majority of people are acting out of the sense that they are separate selves and I find I get drawn into doing the same despite knowing there is no self.

Is this enough detail or do I need to write more?

Have a nice day,
Peter.

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Wed May 15, 2013 2:11 am

Hi PeterD,
When I mentioned "reality" what I was alluding to was, that I know I am not separate self but I am living in a world where the majority of people are acting out of the sense that they are separate selves and I find I get drawn into doing the same despite knowing there is no self.


Who is getting drawn in if there is no self? Where is the focus in the above statement ? Isn't it just thoughts, What you are telling yourself about other people? How do you know they are acting from a sense of separate self?
Is there a way to tell? Please explain how you know what they are thinking.

Who is thinking all these thoughts? Is there a thinker? Or a doer? When it is seen that there is no self, is a lifetime of conditioning going to fall away just like that? That we will never self again? We still have to live in the world, so wouldn't it be understandable if once in awhile the conditioning would pop up, but after some time and awareness that it would become easier. It would become faster to spot when we were making it self again.
One more question, if there is no self, are there other selves? Namaste, Metta
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Thu May 16, 2013 3:00 am

Who is getting drawn in if there is no self?
It's my imagined sense of self that is getting drawn in - the story of me - the self I am so used to acting on behalf of and haven't fully dropped just yet.
A recent example: I heard that someone came to the restaurant I manage and loudly told lies about me. I thought about just ignoring it but it really seemed to bother me - I didn't feel it was appropriate behaviour or good for the business and by extension, for the other people working there. So I went and talked to the person.

But this dialogue now has me wondering should I have just ignored it and rested in the knowledge that there is no self that is affected by this or if the business fails and other people lose their jobs?
Where is the focus in the above statement ? Isn't it just thoughts, What you are telling yourself about other people?

Yes it is just thoughts. I'm telling myself that others are acting on behalf of their imagined sense of self.
How do you know they are acting from a sense of separate self?
I cannot know for sure but I suppose my thinking interprets their actions in such a way and draws the conclusion that they are since they seem to be acting in the way I do when I believe I am a separate entity.
Is there a way to tell? Please explain how you know what they are thinking.
I don't know if there is a way to tell for sure. I admit I don't know what they are thinking. It's speculative thinking and drawing conclusions.
Who is thinking all these thoughts? Is there a thinker? Or a doer?
I find I have a bit of confusion on this topic.
I see that thoughts can just appear but it also seems like they can be given more attention or time to be contemplated in which case they can continue on in the same line of thought.

But there also seems to be the faculty where-by I can choose to start thinking about something else - for example: today I was contemplating the answers to these questions during my time at work, while doing various tasks in-between - which required me to then think about something else, after which I would go back to contemplating the questions again. This makes it seem to me like there is some control over thinking or a thinker that can choose what it thinks about?

Or is it again just another thought that comes into consciousness that gives the idea to think about something else...

Also, I have looked, but I am unsure what it is that is drawing conclusions? Is it Awareness or is it an imagined sense of self or would I be correct in thinking it's just another thought that draws the conclusion?
My mind is getting quite boggled now!
Is there a doer?
This seems to be confusing for me too.
I have heard many teachers say that Life lives itself through us - this seems to resonate but...

There are some actions that seem to be done automatically - like breathing, the heart pumping blood, digestion etc. where there would appear to be no doer.

Then there are reflex actions where the thinking process seems to be bypassed -e.g. returning a shot in tennis - which I am not sure if there is a doer or not. If there was no body or consciousness acting through the body then nothing would would have been done.
So there is something that is doing the action - whether it is the brain or awareness I don't know.

There are some actions we do subconsciously - like tapping our foot along to music - we don't realise we are doing it sometimes so does this mean there is no doer?

Then there are actions before which, we have time to contemplate and make a choice on what action to take.
It seems to me that the choice is made based on all the experiences we have had up to that point. But now I'm wondering if it is again just a thought that decides whether we do something and decides what choice is made?

But if there is no doer, I find myself wondering: Well what about those people who harm or even kill others?
Is it all fine because they had no control over their thoughts and weren't the doer of the deed?
I would expect that someone knows they are doing something bad when they murder someone else, yet a choice seems to get made where they go ahead and murder another person regardless of what thoughts or feelings they have to the contrary.
Is there no doer here either? In that case should we just release all the criminals from the prisons and let people away with murder?

Now I feel even more confused by this question of whether there is a doer.

When it is seen that there is no self, is a lifetime of conditioning going to fall away just like that? That we will never self again? We still have to live in the world, so wouldn't it be understandable if once in awhile the conditioning would pop up, but after some time and awareness that it would become easier. .
No, I don't expect a lifetime of conditioning to fall away just like that. However it has been nearly 2 years since the retreat where I got the first glimpse that there was no self and I don't know if it is fallen away much since then.
Do I just need to be more patient?
Or do I need to become more comfortable with the seeming paradox of there being no self while living life as a human which at times means we act as though we are a 'self''?
It would become faster to spot when we were making it self again
I would like to get better at this - if you have any tips I'd love to hear them.
One more question, if there is no self, are there other selves?
If you are asking: if it's the case that I have no self, do I think there are others with selves,
I would have to say there are no other 'real' selves.
Maybe there are others with imaginary selves - but this would be just speculation on my part again ;-)

Thank you for your time,
Namaste,
Peter.

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Thu May 16, 2013 1:45 pm

Hello Peter,
Thank you for the responsive answer

.
It's my imagined sense of self that is getting drawn in - the story of me
Yes, a projected self based on experiences and conditioning. Up until between 18 to 22 months of age there was no recognition of any self at all. Then a change occurs.
A recent example: I heard that someone came to the restaurant I manage and loudly told lies about me. I thought about just ignoring it but it really seemed to bother me - I didn't feel it was appropriate behaviour or good for the business and by extension, for the other people working there. So I went and talked to the person.

Nah, that's just good business. There still has to be functioning, but it is easier when it is not taken personally.
I cannot know for sure but I suppose my thinking interprets their actions in such a way and draws the conclusion that they are since they seem to be acting in the way I do when I believe I am a separate entity.
There is no I and no others. It is all conditioning manifesting from action/reaction.
This makes it seem to me like there is some control over thinking or a thinker that can choose what it thinks about?
If there is an I making decisions, tell me then, what is the exact moment the decision is made. Can it be pinpointed? Or when there is awareness does it just seem to happen.
But if there is no doer, I find myself wondering: Well what about those people who harm or even kill others?
Is it all fine because they had no control over their thoughts and weren't the doer of the deed?

There is awareness or consciousness, can you find a separation when looking? Where does the awareness end? Life lives itself and events happen. If there is no real self, no I, or no others, how can anyone be killed? The body may cease functioning. When observing this, when the one body ceases functioning, does awareness cease functioning? Contemplate the difference between the absolute and the relative. Relatively, life living itself, we still as a society must hold people responsible for the actions that are taken. But there still is no doer. If there is still confusion about this we can go further.


Ex: The moon is shining, It is the source of the light. Someone is walking along and carrying a bucket of water. The person looks down and sees the exact replica of the moon shining in the bucket. Then the person spots more buckets full of water, each one has a replica of the moon shining in it. Then the bucket is dropped, the moon is gone. Looking around the other buckets still have the moon in them and when looking up becomes aware of the source of the light , the full moon. What is real?

When looking at a field and then at the end of the field there is a line of trees. Where does awareness end when looking at the field? Clearly it can be observed the field has ended and the trees began, in the physical, but in awareness can there be a line?

Namaste, Metta
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Fri May 17, 2013 1:30 am

Hi Metta,

Thanks for your reply.
There is no I and no others. It is all conditioning manifesting from action/reaction.
I understand - or rather: This is understood now!
If there is an I making decisions, tell me then, what is the exact moment the decision is made. Can it be pinpointed? Or when there is awareness does it just seem to happen.
I looked into this and I think I get it. It would seem there is no way to pin-point it.
Am I correct in thinking that: Thoughts appear and there is an awareness of the thoughts;
Then thinking continues until there is awareness that the necessary "decision thought" has been been formulated based on what has been deemed appropriate for the situation, in this case a choice.
Then there might be a thought to do an action based on the "decision thought" - which awareness, by means of the body, then does. i.e. no thinker, no doer - just awareness using the brain to think and then the body to carry out a task if needed.
With no 'I' to give credit to.
Or is this just me replacing my 'self' and calling it Awareness?

It occurs to me that the projected self is conditioned to crave appreciation (as it strengthens the feeling that it exists I suppose) so it wants to get credit for doing whatever is done which makes use of the mind or body.

Something else I became aware of that I wanted to run by you:
The projected self (as you pointed out) is based on experiences and conditioning - I noticed the other day there was the impulse to engage in a pleasurable experience.
It made me wonder was this the projected self trying to add nicer things to it's story of itself to enhance it and thus make it more entrenched.
Or is it simply just a thought occurring in awareness again? Or awareness wanting to experience pleasure?
There is awareness or consciousness, can you find a separation when looking?
Where does the awareness end? Life lives itself and events happen. If there is no real self, no I, or no others, how can anyone be killed? The body may cease functioning. When observing this, when the one body ceases functioning, does awareness cease functioning? Contemplate the difference between the absolute and the relative. Relatively, life living itself, we still as a society must hold people responsible for the actions that are taken. But there still is no doer. If there is still confusion about this we can go further.
I think I get it.
I have seen in the past that all there ever is, is awareness, so no, there is no separation.
No one can be killed because there is no self in the first place - just a projected self which gets associated with a certain body.
It is as you say, the body ceases to function or rather, consciousness can no longer function through that body in the usual way because the body has been damaged beyond repair. But the essence of what we are, which is consciousness, can never be killed. It is still alive in everything else.
Ex: The moon is shining, It is the source of the light. Someone is walking along and carrying a bucket of water. The person looks down and sees the exact replica of the moon shining in the bucket. Then the person spots more buckets full of water, each one has a replica of the moon shining in it. Then the bucket is dropped, the moon is gone. Looking around the other buckets still have the moon in them and when looking up becomes aware of the source of the light , the full moon. What is real?
I really like this analogy and found it really helpful.
In a way none of them are real - not even the moon in the sky - There is only the Experience of Seeing a moon - i.e. there is only Awareness.
When looking at a field and then at the end of the field there is a line of trees. Where does awareness end when looking at the field? Clearly it can be observed the field has ended and the trees began, in the physical, but in awareness can there be a line?
No there is no line - it's all just awareness i.e the experience of seeing a field with trees at the end of it.

Thanks again for your time,
Namaste,
Peter.

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Fri May 17, 2013 8:34 am

Hi Peter D,
Thoughts appear and there is an awareness of the thoughts;
Then thinking continues until there is awareness that the necessary "decision thought" has been been formulated based on what has been deemed appropriate for the situation, in this case a choice.
If there is no time in which a decision can be pinpointed, then thoughts, including decisions just arise. Based on previously known direct experiences or conceptual constructs that are built upon that. At what point in time did the awareness become yours? No self, no doer, no thinker, can there be ownership?
made me wonder was this the projected self trying to add nicer things to it's story of itself to enhance it and thus make it more entrenched.
Or is it simply just a thought occurring in awareness again? Or awareness wanting to experience pleasure?
No self, just biological imperatives based on chemistry,hormones, or past direct experience of pleasureable sensations to the body ,senses, etc. Thoughts arise, of varying kinds, then based on conditioning , or say the biological sensation of hunger, direct experience of food satisfying hunger, food eaten.
No one can be killed because there is no self in the first place - just a projected self which gets associated with a certain body.
It is as you say, the body ceases to function or rather, consciousness can no longer function through that body in the usual way because the body has been damaged beyond repair. But the essence of what we are, which is consciousness, can never be killed. It is still alive in everything else.
Yes.

If there is no I * ( self) , no separation in awareness, awareness was there before, awareness is operating now. Then the ceasing to function of one body does not mean that awareness ceases to function, does it? There was conditioning and neurobiological changes that led to the illusion of self. The illusion is an excellent one, also leading to belief in other selves. Without investigation . When looking at the computer screen, ask two questions, where does the awareness of the screen end, is there a separation that can be pinpointed. When we communicate on the computer, where does awareness of Metta begin and Peter end? Is there a point where it is clearly Metta or Peter? ( In awareness) Not concepts, ideas or thoughts.
I really like this analogy and found it really helpful.
In a way none of them are real - not even the moon in the sky - There is only the Experience of Seeing a moon - i.e. there is only Awareness.
Exactly, only experience, conscious awareness now, thoughts arising, like cars passing on the street, constant arising, some thoughts slow down, others speed up, some stop, some receive attention, about 60 thousand thoughts a day. Is there an awareness of all 60 thousand thoughts? All only happening now. No past, the past is dead, it is only electro chemical lines in the flesh of your brain, no future as it is only projected by the mind, mostly for comfort. Thoughts arise get attached to emotions, sensations, like a car picking up a passenger.

Is there a self anywhere, at anytime? Can there be an unchanging, persistent self anywhere? Since the nature of awareness is constant looking, constant change.

Warm Regards, Metta
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Fri May 17, 2013 10:00 pm

If there is no time in which a decision can be pinpointed, then thoughts, including decisions just arise. Based on previously known direct experiences or conceptual constructs that are built upon that.
I see, yes, decisions just arise like other thoughts and based on previous experiences.
At what point in time did the awareness become yours? No self, no doer, no thinker, can there be ownership?
There was never any ownership, simply awareness taking form in a body which was then called Peter and subsequently a self was projected which had the illusion that it was the owner of awareness. But all it ever was, was just awareness.
When looking at the computer screen, ask two questions, where does the awareness of the screen end, is there a separation that can be pinpointed. When we communicate on the computer, where does awareness of Metta begin and Peter end? Is there a point where it is clearly Metta or Peter? ( In awareness) Not concepts, ideas or thoughts.

I'm not certain what you mean when you suggest I ask "where does the awareness of the screen end?"

There is simply the experience of Seeing the screen - or if I move close enough, the experience of touching the screen - both experiences are just awareness. Reading of the words on the screen happens and thinking then occurs, to interpret them.

There is no separation to be pinpointed.
Is it correct to say: it is simply all just a flow of awareness which is communicating with different manifestations of itself via a computer between 2 human bodies, both of which are animated by awareness, one of which has been given the name Metta and the other Peter, both with brains, one of which contains knowledge/information that the other body's brain hasn't become aware of yet.
Is there a self anywhere, at anytime? Can there be an unchanging, persistent self anywhere? Since the nature of awareness is constant looking, constant change.
No, there is no self anywhere, at anytime - only the illusion of one. There cannot be an unchanging persistent self. The only thing that is persistent is awareness - in that it is always ever-present and constantly looking.

Thanks for the helpful guidance,
All the best,
Peter

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Sun May 19, 2013 8:34 am

Hello PD,

I'm not certain what you mean when you suggest I ask "where does the awareness of the screen end?"
The answer indicates the understanding was there, very good.
There is no separation to be pinpointed.
Is it correct to say: it is simply all just a flow of awareness which is communicating with different manifestations of itself via a computer between 2 human bodies, both of which are animated by awareness, one of which has been given the name Metta and the other Peter, both with brains, one of which contains knowledge/information that the other body's brain hasn't become aware of yet.
Is it correct to say? The investigation is ongoing. The direct experience of this indicates what?

When observing the natural environment are there instances seen of awareness without ownership or any self ?
I see, yes, decisions just arise like other thoughts and based on previous experiences.

Who is actually seeing? Is there an I seeing? Or just awareness observing?
Warm Regards, Metta777
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Sun May 19, 2013 11:53 pm

Is it correct to say? The investigation is ongoing. The direct experience of this indicates what?
The direct experience seems to indicate it is a flow of awareness - which is the only words that are coming that describes it. There doesn't seem to be a better description coming to mind at this point.
When observing the natural environment are there instances seen of awareness without ownership or any self ?

There are no instances of awareness with any ownership or self. It is all just one awareness.
Who is actually seeing? Is there an I seeing? Or just awareness observing?
There is no I. It is just awareness observing.

All the best,
Peter.

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby Metta777 » Mon May 20, 2013 2:41 pm

Good Morning Peter D.,

Do you think you are ready for the final questions? It seems that there is an awareness of no self. Are there any other issues that need to be addressed ? Any questions ? I think it is important to point out that once the process starts it will continue. It may or may not be smooth. That expectations of never dropping back into self thinking or selfing are unrealistic. Though experiences and the effects may have similarity, some are quite different. Love, Metta777
"This too shall pass"

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Re: Looking for Guide

Postby peterdan » Mon May 20, 2013 3:55 pm

Good Morning Peter D.,

Do you think you are ready for the final questions? It seems that there is an awareness of no self. Are there any other issues that need to be addressed ? Any questions ? I think it is important to point out that once the process starts it will continue. It may or may not be smooth. That expectations of never dropping back into self thinking or selfing are unrealistic. Though experiences and the effects may have similarity, some are quite different. Love, Metta777
Good morning Metta,

It feels like I am ready for the final questions.

The only issue that seems to be arising is regarding emotions.
When strong emotions occur, they appear to strengthen the sense of self and make it more difficult to see it doesn't exist.
I seem to recall reading in some of the other guided enquiries on this site that emotions are to be just observed in the same way thoughts would be. Is this all that is necessary, or is there something else?

The thought occurs now, that when something happens that stirs an emotion, it is triggering an emotional wound from the past story of the self and the emotion felt at that time then reoccurs. Is it necessary to heal the old emotional wounds or simply to be aware of them?
Any other info on emotions you would care to share?

Have a nice day :-)
All the best,
Peter.


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