Guidance please?

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amrita
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Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:20 pm

Hello everyone, I would appreciate some guidance if anyone is feeling generous enough to give me their time. I have been practicing looking and so far am (intellectually) convinced of the truth of no-self but have strong habitual grasping to the notion of me. If anyone can help me break free I would be eternally grateful.

Thank you

amrita :)

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moondog
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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:40 pm

Hi Amrita and welcome,

My name's Pete and my role is to guide you through your own unique process.

There are a few things that we need to make clear before the journey begins.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what time zone you're in - I'm in Somerset in England.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 110% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read this article: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

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

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?

Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

Don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love,

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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amrita
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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:47 pm

Thank you Pete. Yes I agree to post every day and I agree with the disclaimer and I am happy that you are willing to be my guide. I will do my best to engage with the process with a clear, open and honest mind. I will get back to you with the answers to your questions shortly. I am at work now but hope to carve out some quiet time later this afternoon.

Thanks

amrita

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:19 pm

That's great Amrita, it will be a pleasure to guide you. No need to rush with your answers, let me have them when you've comfortably had enough time.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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amrita
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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:47 pm

Hi,

Here are my (initial) answers to your questions.

What are my expectations of this process?

I'm not sure what my expectations are. I'm trying not to have any expectations. I'm open to the possibility that I might fail to break through or see what is being pointed out to me and become disillusioned with the process. More positively, I genuinely wonder what such an experience would be like, what it would feel like, and how it might impact upon my life. Buddhism teaches that liberation from the illusion of self brings peace, joy, friendliness and I would love some of that as I find life a struggle. I would love to find a way to be happier or lighter, or even less sad as I feel sad a lot of the time and have done since early childhood. Also, I would love to change some old seated behaviours which I think are rooted in some deeply held self- view. However, as I've said, I'm trying not to have any expectations and just approach the process with an honest, open mind.

What is it that you are searching for?

I would like to find a way to reduce my own suffering and the suffering of others. Maybe find a way to be more happy and joyful or to find something that inspires and nourishes me. A new way of life and a new direction would be nice.

How will you know that you found it?

I imagine my subjective experience of life would change to allow more positive mental states to arise within my mind stream as well as feeling more existentially relaxed. As I have said I have a good intellectual understanding of no-self but what I yearn for is a direct existential experience of it. The real test for me would be to sustain any cognitive, affective and behavioural changes over time.

How will this feel?

I imagine my experience would feel more spacious and positive and less emotionally reactive.

How will this change you?

Again I imagine it would make me more present and content to live in the ever changing now. I am also open to the process changing me in ways I cannot foresee right now.

Once again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this process.

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:46 pm

Hi amrita,

Thanks for your reply.
I'm not sure what my expectations are. I'm trying not to have any expectations.
It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. So, your descriptions of your expectations seem quite reasonable and realistic within this context. Like you, as a practising Buddhist, over quite a few years, I had a good intellectual understanding of no self when I embarked on this process. However, the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside all expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and are so not within direct experience.
However, as I've said, I'm trying not to have any expectations and just approach the process with an honest, open mind.
So, excellent. As I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would “be like” or what life ought to “look like” once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that “getting it” is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - "seeing through" Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, "there's no Santa"! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, "positive", "negative". However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including around the area of "second arrow" dukhka.

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this. Moving on towards the core of this work:

Observe closely and let me know what comes up when you read the following.

There is absolutely no "you" in any way, shape, or form. No "you" thinking your thoughts. No "you" living your life. There never has been a "you" nor will there ever be.

Take those statements deep inside. Really let them sink in.

What physical sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

What feelings do you notice?


P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:22 pm

Observe closely and let me know what comes up when you read the following.

There is absolutely no "you" in any way, shape, or form. No "you" thinking your thoughts. No "you" living your life. There never has been a "you" nor will there ever be.

Take those statements deep inside. Really let them sink in.

What physical sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

What feelings do you notice?


P x
Hey,

Great opening questions. Straight to the heart of the matter. I really like that ☺

The statement is not new to me as I have been lurking on this forum for a few days and have already read lots of threads as well as the book “Gateless Gatecrashers. Since finding Liberation Unleashed I have been engaging in intense internal debates about whether I exist as well as practicing looking for any sign of “me” or I-ness within my experience. This has been a very interesting and exhilarating existential experience.

When I first read your statement I felt lots of things. Firstly, sadness and loss. I reacted to it as if it were negating everything about me. This feeling of sadness is familiar to me.

This was immediately followed by anger and a thought stream of “this is wrong, how can it be right, I have a body, I can choose, of course I’m me, how can I not be me, etc, etc”. These feelings of defensiveness and anger are again familiar to me.

At the same time I noticed a tightening across my chest, restricting my breath and heart. Fear, I felt fear as well. Fear of what? I’m not sure. Fear of death maybe. Fear of non-being. Fear of staring into the void. Fear of something but I don’t know what. It felt like something was grasping hold of me. Maybe it was my sense of self grasping onto my body. I don’t know. I felt tight and anxious. Uncomfortable. Another familiar feeling.

Since then I have practiced relaxing into my experience and telling myself there is no “me” to experience this. There’s just experience. This shift in awareness has made the world new and strange again.

I’m suddenly aware of how many times I have used the word “I” and “me” in all the above. Probably a sign that I am still deeply identified with self. I’m also aware of the need for brevity so I’ll stop. I hope I’ve said enough for us to go further.

Once again, thank you for this. It’s an amazing gift.

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:31 pm

Hi amrita,
Great opening questions. Straight to the heart of the matter. I really like that ☺
I'm glad you like the questions - I think it's best to be clear and direct.
The statement is not new to me as I have been lurking on this forum for a few days and have already read lots of threads as well as the book “Gateless Gatecrashers. Since finding Liberation Unleashed I have been engaging in intense internal debates about whether I exist as well as practicing looking for any sign of “me” or I-ness within my experience. This has been a very interesting and exhilarating existential experience.
Good to hear that. I think that, sometimes, quite a lot of the work is done by doing just what you've been doing, reading about others' awakening experiences, so that when they embark upon the pointing process like this one, some people are somehow 'closer' to seeing the illusion of self in Direct Experience.

Which brings me nicely to the crucial importance of direct experience as the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the excellent article on direct experience in the introductory post. Lecture over for today, you'll be glad to learn.
When I first read your statement I felt lots of things. Firstly, sadness and loss. I reacted to it as if it were negating everything about me. This feeling of sadness is familiar to me.

This was immediately followed by anger and a thought stream of “this is wrong, how can it be right, I have a body, I can choose, of course I’m me, how can I not be me, etc, etc”. These feelings of defensiveness and anger are again familiar to me.

At the same time I noticed a tightening across my chest, restricting my breath and heart. Fear, I felt fear as well. Fear of what? I’m not sure. Fear of death maybe. Fear of non-being. Fear of staring into the void. Fear of something but I don’t know what. It felt like something was grasping hold of me. Maybe it was my sense of self grasping onto my body. I don’t know. I felt tight and anxious. Uncomfortable. Another familiar feeling.
It's quite common to have these feelings when the truth of non-self starts to really kick in. So, although it's clearly unpleasant and can be disturbing, don't worry, it's a good sign. As a Buddhist this will be familiar: don't push away from the feelings of anger, anxiety and fear. Don’t fight it, allow it. Go with it. Let it Rip. Face it. Ask the question, " Is it true that there is no separate self whatsoever in reality?" Let the doubt in, let the anger in, let the fear in. Ask for the truth to be revealed.

Fear particularly, often seems to rear its head at this point so, when fear is present, look deeply in direct experience and find what's actually happening.

Walk up to the fear and look it in the eye. Don't try to get rid of it in any way. Embrace it and allow it to be experienced. It's your friend, there to protect you. It's just that it can't discriminate between a real danger and an imaginary one.

Look behind the feeling of fear and see what, if anything, is there.

What sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

Do the thoughts come after the sensations? What do they say about the sensations?

Behind all of that, does the fear have a story to tell? If so, what is that story?


You will not disappear. You cannot. You never “were” in the first place. Existence exists and always has and always will. What does not exist is this “you” —the imaginary ownership of a piece of existence.
Since then I have practiced relaxing into my experience and telling myself there is no “me” to experience this. There’s just experience. This shift in awareness has made the world new and strange again.
It looks like you've already put into practice a lot of what I've said above already anyway! It sounds very encouraging. Please say a little more about your shift in awareness.

More than enough to going on with for today I think. I'm planning to post to you probably once a day, occasionally more perhaps. Is that ok for you? If not, tell me what suits you best.

Lots of love,

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:39 pm

Thank you for another excellent answer.

In response to your question about fear
Walk up to the fear and look it in the eye. Don't try to get rid of it in any way. Embrace it and allow it to be experienced. It's your friend, there to protect you. It's just that it can't discriminate between a real danger and an imaginary one.

Look behind the feeling of fear and see what, if anything, is there.

What sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

Do the thoughts come after the sensations? What do they say about the sensations?

Behind all of that, does the fear have a story to tell? If so, what is that story?

I haven’t experienced much fear over the past 24 hours to be honest so I've been carrying on with the practice of looking into my experience for any sign of selfhood. The main way I've been doing this is by saying to myself, (and yes I’m aware of the paradox of the use of “I” and “myself” in writing this) is this is not “my” experience, it is just “experience”. As I’ve previously said this has caused a shift in consciousness where the world feels both familiar and strange. Also I am looking at things differently, I can’t say exactly how, as the experience is so new but there is a definite change in the way I see things visually. I’m more aware of perspective and depth for example. I am also more present and more awake than usual and my experience is unusually open and spacious.

However, I do have some conceptual problems, which I think are blocking me moving forwards with the process. The biggest one is about agency and choice. I have to a greater or lesser extent identified my imaginary sense of “self” with my ability to choose. Even on the level of focusing attention it feels like I am choosing to focus on this rather than that. Furthermore, thoughts themselves are not only passively observed but I am aware of an interactivity with thoughts, which changes them. Experience is not just being passively witnessed but interacted with, albeit often unconsciously, and something within my field of experience is causing that interaction and I have identified my sense of I-ness with that choice.

My other conceptual problem is that of the body. If this is not my body whose is it? Why is experience so intimately connected with the body and its sense organs?

I know this is not meant to be an intellectual process and I am mainly focusing on direct experience but if you can say anything or point me to a way to work through my thinking difficulties I would be grateful.

Yesterday I was in a supermarket in London in a long queue with a woman taking ages to pack her bags and pay. The stress levels in the people behind her were visibly rising, including the girl behind the till. I felt myself caught up in the hysteria and began to get angry and impatient and my inner voice start a long angry monologue “come on, get a move on you fxxxxx txxx, etc” until I remembered that there was no one there to get angry whereupon my anger instantly dropped away and I felt spacious and calm again. Wow. I thought. It works. It really works. There have been several other occasions over the last few days where I have not reacted because I have dropped the “I” story. However, I do feel it’s something I am doing, a technique if you like, rather than a full expression of my reality if that makes sense.

Please post as much as you want. I for one am deeply enjoying this conversation.

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:31 pm

Hi amrita,
I haven’t experienced much fear over the past 24 hours to be honest so I've been carrying on with the practice of looking into my experience for any sign of selfhood.
I'm glad to hear that, but as and when you do experience fear or other 'negative' emotions please remember to look using the questions I suggested and let me know what happened.
The main way I've been doing this is by saying to myself, (and yes I’m aware of the paradox of the use of “I” and “myself” in writing this) is this is not “my” experience, it is just “experience”. As I’ve previously said this has caused a shift in consciousness where the world feels both familiar and strange. Also I am looking at things differently, I can’t say exactly how, as the experience is so new but there is a definite change in the way I see things visually. I’m more aware of perspective and depth for example. I am also more present and more awake than usual and my experience is unusually open and spacious.


It's great that these changes are happening but just remember that it's LOOKING, LOOKING,LOOKING into your direct experience that's going to do it, nothing else will. So, whenever you can, just notice what's going on in your experience. Is there an 'I', a 'self', a 'me' to be found anywhere in direct experience? (By the way the use of I, me etc. is just far more convenient for us here, so no problem. I'll use inverted commas as and when it seems necessary.)Where else could the self be? Thoughts appear in direct experience but the contents of those thoughts are only symbols of what is seen, purely conceptual, shadows of reality, removed. In amongst this seemingly endless succession of thoughts of plans, memories, opinions etc.are 'I thoughts', thoughts about 'me' and what' I' want, hate etc. and these appear to predominate and give a strong sense of self.

Look at something, say, an orange, and just see it, smell it, touch it, lick it (probably wash it first!) even rub it against your hand to hear a sound. Just notice how that is and also note how there are just those sense arisings, before mind labels it as 'an orange'. Wait a few minutes and then bring the orange to mind. Notice the difference between the two experiences. Then notice self in thought. Can you find the 'equivalent' 'I' anywhere in direct experience as you did when the real orange was perceived?
I know this is not meant to be an intellectual process and I am mainly focusing on direct experience but if you can say anything or point me to a way to work through my thinking difficulties I would be grateful.

I do have some conceptual problems, which I think are blocking me moving forwards with the process. The biggest one is about agency and choice. I have to a greater or lesser extent identified my imaginary sense of “self” with my ability to choose. Even on the level of focusing attention it feels like I am choosing to focus on this rather than that. Furthermore, thoughts themselves are not only passively observed but I am aware of an interactivity with thoughts, which changes them. Experience is not just being passively witnessed but interacted with, albeit often unconsciously, and something within my field of experience is causing that interaction and I have identified my sense of I-ness with that choice.
If your problems are conceptual, they are based in thought, not in direct experience. If the illusion of a separate self could be seen through just by using our intellect, there would literally be no problem; it would have been solved by most people. So essentially, the problems you mention are thought-based. The mind creates these distractions which overlay direct experience. When 'you' focus attention, really LOOK at what happens. There is focusing, but can you detect yourself actually doing that, or did it just happen, followed by the thought, 'I focused my attention.' What is 'my' attention anyway, as opposed to just attention, or awareness, and how could there be an entity within you that does that?
If this is not my body whose is it? Why is experience so intimately connected with the body and its sense organs?
Let’s look at the body and see if there is an owner or entity controlling it. Lift one of your hands. Either one. Move it to the right. Now move it left. look with your eyes at what is happening. Did a “self ” move the hand? Or did the hand just move?

If there is no you, or anyone else, how can it be owned? Look to see whether you can find 'the body' In direct experience.

Please say more about experience being intimately connected for you with the body and sense organs.

You said earlier that this is an amazing gift and you're right. I think it's the greatest gift, ever. Despite your doubts - thoughts again - I can reassure you that this is going really well; your description of your experience in the supermarket queue is testament to that. Just keep LOOKING in every nook and cranny of your experience!

Rest assured, I'll try to keep these posts shorter in future, focusing on specific areas of experience.

Lots of love

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:03 pm

Thank you.

I will carry on looking into direct experience and get back to you anon. I'm off to the park now for a session of slack lining. That will give me lots of opportunity to practice. Have a nice day whatever you do with it.

amrita

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:10 am

Hi amrita,

I hope your slack lining went well - I had to look it up, it sounds great, a little scary, and strangely appropriate for what we are doing here.

I'm aware that I gave you a lot do and look at yesterday so, no rush, just get back to me when you're ready.

P x
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Just this'

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:19 am

Hi,

I've just got back from a long day with family and feel too tired to post at any length but wanted to say that it feels like something is definitely shifting in my experience that has the "taste of freedom" about it. I feel more aware and the boundaries between “me” and experience have gone a lot of the time.

However, its not all been bliss and joy. There’s been strong ego-contractions into negative emotion as well, particularly in the car on a long drive where I had a few angry moments. Likewise, family presented me with lots of experiences of strong emotions. Bless them. I attempted to practice what you suggested after the event with varying degrees of success. Also, I had my first real session of doubt about the whole process since I began here a few days ago. Hopefully, I will be able to say more about this tomorrow. Interestingly, this has made me see how much of my self-identity is caught up in negative emotions. I think whatever ultimately happens with my journey on LU I have already learnt something important about myself so thank you once again for giving me this opportunity.



I hope your slack lining went well - I had to look it up, it sounds great, a little scary, and strangely appropriate for what we are doing here.
I agree! I love slacklining. Yesterday I tried to walk a 33 metre (108 feet) line which we strung up in the local park between two trees. It was a beautiful day. The line itself was scary. To tighten a line that long takes a lot of tensioning. It’s effectively like a long inch wide elastic band so when it’s that long it’s (super) tight. Consequently, it’s got a lot of power so it can violently throw you off if you get it wrong. Hard to walk on. You have to get the first step right. Eventually, after a few hours of trying I managed about 15 metres on it. It’s an amazing feeling walking on it because the line moves around so much, like its alive. Its great exercise but I mainly love it for the experience of “samadhi” when you are on the line. It’s very intense but very pure. You can’t think of anything else but being on the line in the “here and now”. If you think about something else, you fall off! And when the line is that long and taut, it’s potentially very painful so I experienced a certain amount of anxiety and fear stepping onto it. Its good to work through that shit though and it gave me lots of opportunity to practice looking into experience for any sign of I.

Whoops I have spent more time than I wanted on this. You can tell I’m passionate about slacklining. It's 21st century yoga, man. Bedtime now for me. Will get back to you about your questions tomorrow.

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby moondog » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:48 am

Hi amrita,

Thanks for the update.
However, its not all been bliss and joy. There’s been strong ego-contractions into negative emotion as well, particularly in the car on a long drive where I had a few angry moments. Likewise, family presented me with lots of experiences of strong emotions. Bless them. I attempted to practice what you suggested after the event with varying degrees of success. Also, I had my first real session of doubt about the whole process since I began here a few days ago. Hopefully, I will be able to say more about this tomorrow. Interestingly, this has made me see how much of my self-identity is caught up in negative emotions. I think whatever ultimately happens with my journey on LU I have already learnt something important about myself so thank you once again for giving me this opportunity.
It never is all bliss and joy. Before, during and after gating, negative emotions come and go, like the weather, and they're increasingly seen as impersonal, like the weather, as thoughts are seen through. These strong emotions can be particularly noticeable during the process of being guided, as things are stirred up and awareness is heightened. There's a tendency to think, 'If there's no I, these thoughts shouldn't be happening!' But they do just happen, as do the thoughts that they shouldn't. It's just not a problem. There's no should or shouldn't, ought or oughtn't. You're not thinking the negative thoughts. Just like you're not looking for the self. There's just thinking, just looking. Thinking just happens, looking just happens! Wow, that's a lot of justs!

With the exercises suggested it's not really a question of success or failure, it's solely about looking for the 'me' that's producing and experiencing the negative thoughts and emotions. Can you find it, or is it just the mind trying to protect an illusion?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

P x
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Just this'

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Re: Guidance please?

Postby amrita » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:08 pm

Hi Pete,

Hope this finds you very well,

I have practiced looking and can find no sign of “self” in my current experience. My fingers are typing, the words are appearing on the screen in front of me and I can clearly “see” there is no “self” necessary for all this to happen. It’s just happening. I practice the looking all day long. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. My experience is both deeply familiar and strange at the same time. That’s the best way I can describe it. I feel very absorbed with the looking. I don’t talk about it to anyone at home or work. I don’t think they would understand and I don’t want to talk about it anyway. The experience feels too new to talk about.

And this definitely feels like a radically new way to approach life. As you said I am still having strong negative emotions at home and work but I find I’m quickly able to discharge a lot of the emotional sting out of it by dropping the I story, which is just a fiction anyway. It’s actually hard to write about because I feel the experience is very fluid and I’m still getting used to being able to flip from the “I” perspective and then dropping the “I” and opening into raw experience. It’s certainly made meetings at work more bearable by having this looking to practice. If I leave the process now I feel I am leaving with something worthwhile.

However, I know I am not free. Freer certainly, but not free. I feel strong ego grasping at times mainly out of fear. I don’t know what I am frightened off. Fear of letting go maybe. As I write that I can feel the subtle tensioning in my chest and guts. A cold icy grip. I think I will have to practice a lot with this fear. It’s like a deep instinctual grabbing in my body. Like a jolt. I don’t feel free from the fear. My mind is full of doubts. All thoughts I know, and thoughts are not real, but it’s the fear behind those doubts that binds me. The fear creates a strong ego contraction and the I story becomes real again.

I’ve noticed it happens with anger too. I am deeply identified with anger and fear still. At least I have someway of working with them now. Or at least a new way. In the heat of the emotional moment the I story becomes very strong again. Perhaps it’s a survival reflex. Fight or flight. When it kicks in I feel very me and separate. And it feels powerful and convincing.

So, these are some of the things I’ve noticed when practicing looking for the I in my experience. There is more but it feels like subjective stuff and I wonder how relevant it is to talk about here in a public forum, and how relevant is it anyway to this process.

What next? What happens now? Do you ask me more questions?


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