I'm ready to start

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Xela
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I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Wed May 29, 2013 10:54 am

Hello,

I'm Alex, 26 years of age, living in the UK. I have been engaging in spiritual practices (mainly meditation, pranayama, self inquiry) on a consistent daily basis since 2009 and have so far seen a significant shift in the nature of my experience. There has been a rise of humility and compassion, the desire to do charitable work and a diminishing of feelings of guilt/anger/fear. Frequent moments of unprompted bliss, peace and an underlying gentle inner silence. My sense of "self" has become increasingly flimsy and ephemeral, sometimes seeming to disappear altogether, yet at other times it is still very much "in charge" of things here.

I get the sense that things a moving "in the right direction" but still I am aware that I have not surrendered completely.

Until this point I have only relied on my own practices and internal methods of self enquiry in order to draw closer to the truth which I desire to reach, more than anything else. This is my first attempt to seek help from an outside source. I was directed here by a friend I met on a meditation retreat, and I trust that the time is right to try this new approach.

I'll continue to read the ebook and app, until some kind soul finds this post and volunteers their help.

In love and gratitude,

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Wed May 29, 2013 11:51 am

Hello Alex, my name is Paulo, wonderful to have you here and it would be a pleasure to guide you.

A few ground rules -

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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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Wed May 29, 2013 2:18 pm

Hi Paulo,

Thank you, I'm good to go :-)

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Wed May 29, 2013 3:22 pm

Great Alex, let us begin -

Why did you come here? Are you looking for peace/harmony/love/bliss? Or are you looking for reality?

What do you expect will happen here?


Be as honest and open in your answers as you can Alex.

Love,
Paulo.

[Great to hear you're reading the ebook at the moment, as it gives some idea of what we do here - but just remember your experiences will be uniquely yours.]

You might also find the quote function useful when responded to postings here - http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Wed May 29, 2013 6:07 pm

Dear Paulo,

Thanks for showing me how to quote, first of all :)

So in answer to your first question,
Why did you come here? Are you looking for peace/harmony/love/bliss? Or are you looking for reality?
I came here because a friend told me it would be worth it. I chose to get involved with this forum because he told me that he had found help here, and I would also like help. I would say that I have been guided here.

What am I looking for? That's a difficult question. I probably once would have said yes to "peace/harmony/love/bliss", as I believe it was a perceived lack of these four qualities and a hunger to experience these things that fuelled my practice or "search" in the earlier days. It was the experiences of peace/bliss that I came to associate with my practice that kept me going.

Is it not possible to be looking for peace/harmony/love/bliss AND reality? In my limited experience, a less clouded experience of reality has been associated with an increase of these four qualities in my life. Is life not more harmonious when we see things for how they are? By my understanding the only conflict is that which we create within ourselves, born from the illusion of separation that comes packaged with the feeling of being "me".

Knowing the truth is also important to me. I want to say that I would take the truth over and above anything else. But having never been offered the choice before, I cannot say for sure what I would do.
What do you expect will happen here?
As for this, I am really not too sure. I suppose I don't nurture too many expectations, I've learned over time that it generally doesn't affect the outcome of what I am doing, and generally only creates more suffering. If nothing came of this whole thing, perhaps I would be a little disappointed. I would like to learn something about myself, I guess, but I don't necessarily expect that or feel entitled to it.

Love,

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Wed May 29, 2013 9:18 pm

Thank you Alex, a very good first step,
Is it not possible to be looking for peace/harmony/love/bliss AND reality?
In my experience peace/harmony/bliss are states of being. They come, stay for awhile, and drift away as other states take their place. What remains is reality, it is the sky that these clouds blow across as we watch them on a windy day. Reality is what you find it to be - here and now.
By my understanding the only conflict is that which we create within ourselves, born from the illusion of separation that comes packaged with the feeling of being "me".
What is it that understands this idea?

Alex, look really hard at this. Seriously, LOOK. Don't theorise or speculate - LOOK. Spend some time with that question, take it with you throughout your daily routine on a scrap of paper as a reminder, and take it out and read it at various points - then LOOK deep. Show no mercy, be ruthless with every apparent answer the mind throws up, question every answer, and then keep looking.

Respond only when you have a response worth printing as a headline on the front page of the Times newspaper!!

Love, Paulo :-)

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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Thu May 30, 2013 1:38 pm

What is it that understands this idea?
I've spent a while looking at this, Paulo. At first, nothing happened. It seemed that there was no answer to the question at all. But clearly something understands or does not understand.

Then I tested out the idea "my consciousness understands".

This didn't feel quite right either, something about the word "my", I think. So I dropped it and tried "consciousness understands".

As I did this a peculiar sort of feeling began in my body and started creeping up toward my head. I felt something like "that's right", a little realization maybe. So I sat with it for a few minutes and enjoyed looking out the window at some trees. The feeling has remained with me for the rest of the morning, although not quite as noticeable as it was at first. Maybe I've just gotten used to it.

Is this front page material? I'm not sure. They print some pretty questionable headlines in my opinion.

Love,

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Thu May 30, 2013 3:14 pm

Thanks Alex,
Then I tested out the idea "my consciousness understands". This didn't feel quite right either, something about the word "my", I think
Good call !
So I dropped it and tried "consciousness understands"
All sounds a bit vague Alex. What exactly is 'consciousness'?

Explain it to me in your own words, and in such a way that a five year old would understand.
The feeling has remained with me for the rest of the morning, although not quite as noticeable as it was at first. Maybe I've just gotten used to it.
Let's look at that experience in a little more detail -

Is there an Alex there making you feel that way, or creating that emotion?

Did the experience last, or did you begin feeling something else after some time?

How did this change happen, did you choose another thought to make the feeling fade?


Paulo :-)

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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Fri May 31, 2013 11:20 am

What exactly is 'consciousness'?

Explain it to me in your own words, and in such a way that a five year old would understand
Consciousness what is looking through these eyes at the words appearing on the computer screen. I think that's the best I can do at the moment.
Is there an Alex there making you feel that way, or creating that emotion?"
No, I don't think Alex was really involved in any of that at all. I wouldn't even describe it as an emotion, more just a sensation in the body and mind.
Did the experience last, or did you begin feeling something else after some time?
I would say the intensity of the experience diminished once I began engaging in activity again, after just looking out of the window and watching. It was still there, only not as noticeable. I still feel it now, just not to the same degree.
How did this change happen, did you choose another thought to make the feeling fade?


In so far as my attention became occupied with other things, rather than the simple feeling of "there is nothing here". I am not exactly sure what happened. I am still feeling more open and less "me-like", you could say. It doesn't even feel appropriate to say "my" attention, but I know of no other way to express it! "This attention?" Whose attention? Does it matter?

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Fri May 31, 2013 12:35 pm

Hi Alex,
I wouldn't even describe it as an emotion, more just a sensation in the body and mind.
Let's take a closer look at sensations in the body today -

When you find an appropriate place and time jump around a bit - wave your arms, stamp you feet, run here and there, twist, turn, spin.

The body moves, but is there an Alex there making this movement occur?

How is it that all those muscles and joints work so perfectly to enable you to type on a keyboard with such precision?

If you tried to grow your hair longer by sheer force of will, could you? What are the implications of this?

Consciousness what is looking through these eyes at the words appearing on the computer screen
A point to consider - are eyes, words, and the computer screen PART of consciousness? Would there be awareness of them if they weren't? Is there anything outside this awareness looking AT it?

Paulo :-)

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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Fri May 31, 2013 8:41 pm

Hi Paulo,

The movements just happen, it seems. Even though something must have understood your suggestion, and instigated the movements. As to how the muscles and joints work, clearly a baby would not be able to type with precision, even if it were able to use the language. So the ability is learned. But I guess it is not learned by Alex, it just develops somehow.

I don't believe I could cause my hair to grow any faster by an act of will. I suppose this implies that my body does things that bear no relation to what I want to happen. These things just happen.

Even though I am able to give these answers, which all imply to me that there is no self, I somehow feel that I am not DEEPLY realising this, to the fullest extent.

Also, Paulo, do you mind if I say I'd like to learn a little bit about you? I'm curious about how Paulo disappeared and what the space where Paulo used to be feels like.

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Fri May 31, 2013 9:51 pm

Thanks Alex, and well done on your observations,
I suppose this implies that my body does things that bear no relation to what I want to happen. These things just happen.
Exactly! As you've seen the body pretty much does it's own thing, hair and nails growing, heart beating, digestion and assimilation happening, growing old. You can observe all this with any biological organism (moss, tree, fish, dog) there is no 'I' there directing this whole affair.

Now we will look at THOUGHT –

Think of a car.

Share your experience of what happens when you think of the above in as much detail as you can.

How did the thought arrive? Was there a ‘you’ 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?

Consciousness what is looking through these eyes at the words appearing on the computer screen
A point to consider - are eyes, words, and the computer screen PART of consciousness? Would there be awareness of them if they weren't? Is there anything outside this awareness looking AT it?
It's important that you respond to all the questions asked, have a look at the above from my last posting and share what you find.
Also, Paulo, do you mind if I say I'd like to learn a little bit about you? I'm curious about how Paulo disappeared and what the space where Paulo used to be feels like.
Your experience is totally unique Alex. Stay focused, keep looking.

Paulo :-)

[You may be interested in reading Neil's article on the elements of direct experience here - http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html ]

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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:57 am

Hi Paulo,

Thanks for replying so quickly to my posts, I appreciate that :)

I think you are right, when you say
the body pretty much does it's own thing
But I have had this thought - the processes you describe such as hair growing, digestion, ageing, all occur without the need for any kind of prompt, don't they? Are actions that are chosen, such as to speak, to type, to walk, to jump not in a different category? These things are voluntary and usually only occur when we direct them to.

When I thought of a car, an image of a car appeared in my experience that I was able to turn around and examine from different angles, it resembled a picture of a very old looking car I remember from a book I read as a child called 'The Wind in the Willows'. I can't remember ever thinking of that car before, I'm not sure why it appeared today.

I didn't choose this car at all, it just appeared. It is true that there are many cars I could have thought of, but this one was distinctive and looks different to most cars I see on a daily basis. Maybe it formed a strong impression on me once, and it was recalled more easily than any of the other more "forgettable" cars I have seen.
A point to consider - are eyes, words, and the computer screen PART of consciousness? Would there be awareness of them if they weren't? Is there anything outside this awareness looking AT it?
Sorry Paulo, for not responding to that section of your last post. I think I felt a little overwhelmed by questions at that point, and wanted to reply but was a little too burned out to answer everything. It can be quite a challenge sometimes, all this inquiry. Is it alright if we keep it to around 3 or so questions per post, so I don't feel like it's such a big job to reply to each one?

In response to your question, I would say that the computer screen and the words are part of my experience, yes. But I am stumbling a little over the awareness of my eyes, rather it seems to be that the eyes themselves permit me to be aware of the other things I see. I am not so much able to detect the eyes themselves, any more than I am able to detect my kidneys or my liver. But I suppose when my eyes feel tired or uncomfortable, or when I blink, I do get an experience of them.

I don't believe there is anything at all outside of awareness. Actually when I was doing my pranayama this morning something occurred to me, we never actually see or experience a self, do we? We just assume it is there and attribute some aspects of our experience as belonging to the self, and others as not belonging to it.

I won't ask any more questions about you then Paulo. It's a habit I think, when I become conscious that a conversation seems to be all about me, I seek to rebalance things by asking questions about the other person. But if you wish to keep the focus on me, I will not argue with that. Some curiosity does remain though :)

Love,

Alex

And thank you very much for the article, it actually confirmed the thought I just had earlier!

Love,

Alex

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Paulo
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Paulo » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:19 am

Hi Alex, thank you for your open and honest responses. Being honest and engaging fully in this process really are the keys to success.
I don't believe there is anything at all outside of awareness. Actually when I was doing my pranayama this morning something occurred to me, we never actually see or experience a self, do we? We just assume it is there and attribute some aspects of our experience as belonging to the self, and others as not belonging to it.
Wow! That’s exactly it! We will continue looking for a separate self in direct experience – but keep that insight in mind when you are responding to my postings.
Are actions that are chosen, such as to speak, to type, to walk, to jump not in a different category? These things are voluntary and usually only occur when we direct them to.
We will look at the illusion of choice a little later, for now perhaps reread your response to the ‘car exercise’, particularly where you say – ‘I didn't choose this car at all, it just appeared’. Consider (just for yourself) if ANY thoughts, whether those of speaking, walking, jumping, are actually voluntary and chosen by an ‘I’ separate from the experience.

You can see from the ‘car exercise’ that thoughts appear in reaction to stimuli, whether that be external stimuli (question on screen asking you to think of a car), or other thoughts (rationalizing why that car appeared). It all happens automatically, mechanically, no ‘I’ there behind the scenes picking a car to deliver to awareness. Try it as you go about your daily routine – the phone rings (look at what happens – do you get an image or thought of who it might be?), the clock reads 1 pm (look at what happens – do you suddenly feel hungry, time for lunch and a cuppa?). See if you can find a separate entity called ‘I’ directing all these reactions, or if they just appear automatically.
Is it alright if we keep it to around 3 or so questions per post, so I don't feel like it's such a big job to reply to each one?
Getting you out of your comfort zone and limited ideas is all part of this process. That comfort zone is founded on unquestioned beliefs about what is and isn't. Remember the story of the ugly duckling or Jonathon Livingston Seagull?

Consider the following statement -

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Take this statement with you as you go about your business today (maybe on a scrap of paper), and look, really have a good look – can you find ANYTHING that exists outside the moment? (there’s a prize if you do find anything!)

Paulo :-)

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Xela
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Re: I'm ready to start

Postby Xela » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:25 pm

Hi Paulo,

There are moments now where I notice the seamlessness of everything, a sense of continuity between my own thoughts, my own body and the things around me. It seems easier to get a sense of this when I am outside. In moments like this it is clear to me that there is no hint of a separate entity directing my actions, the body seems to be moving and responding to the environment without the need for any voice saying "now do this, then this", if you see what I mean. And as I'm typing now, I occasionally need to pause in order for the sentences to take shape, but again they seem to be arising from emptiness rather than coming from someone.

Ok, I'm happy to let you call the shots as far as the pace of this enquiry goes. But I'll let you know now that I will be away for the day tomorrow being interviewed for a place at university next year and I might not have an easy way to get on to this forum and write a lengthy reply. I'll make sure I get in touch at some point though :)

I've actually not read the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, but I googled it and it looks interesting. Can you explain how it relates to what you were saying about the comfort zone?

On the subject of the present moment, I can say with conviction that nothing does exist outside of it. Thoughts do seem to have the power to make us believe in a past and a future, and we can feel almost as if we ARE there, in the past or future while these thoughts are happening. But in fact these thoughts are only happening NOW. The past and future are only concepts. We can use them as concepts to plan and refer to things that have already happened, but they never exist other than as thoughts.

Has anyone ever won that prize?

Alex


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