I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

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I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:39 pm

Hello, Ilona,

I'm ready to know for certain that there is no "self," and to let life live itself freely through this being known as "Gail." I suppose this has been happening anyway - with or without "my" awareness - all along. I hope/imagine that knowing "I" don't exist will allow an opening of the fist of doubt and fear enough so that I can be free of this desperate holding on to an illusion. I don't want to live a lie. I want the truth. I want to be free and know fully that I and life are one and the same.

I just finished Gateless Gatecrashers earlier today, and have finally gotten up the courage to ask for guidance. I am grateful beyond words that this is available, and thank you in advance with love and appreciation. The generosity of spirit inherent in this website and all who contribute their time and energy to it is breathtaking.

Here's where I am: Experiencing both eagerness (almost joy) and anxiety (almost fear) at looking deeply with guidance at what is true and what is illusion. While reading the book I had moments - sometimes extended ones - of great clarity and simple being and knew that there is no "me," and that the whole house of cards could come tumbling down and nothing would break. It was so funny, so simple, that I cackled out loud at the absurdity of "me." For a few moments, and from time to time, it seems as though everything turns inside out while being strangely put right where it should be in that moment.

Then in the next moment the "I" thought sticks its big foot out and I trip over it again! Not only that, I believe that "I" exist again, and that "I'll" die; and even though I know that isn't true, it feels real enough to pull me back. Then the fear makes my throat, chest and solar plexus clench and I'm off on another unconscious tangent of "me," doubting that I actually saw or knew anything at all, or aware that it hasn't been truly anchored in my consciousness yet. (The same thing happens during meditation, and has for over 30 years. I start to "let go," get that terrified feeling, and pull back into my mind again. It's amazing that I keep going back for more, it's such torture sometimes!)

Please help. I'm so ready to let go, and so afraid that I won't (tears). I've been "seeking" for so long, but the search, like my meditations, has an undertone of torture far too often. I'm 66 years old and want to "get it," even while knowing intellectually that there's no-one here and nothing to get. Aarrggh! I guess I want to "die before I die." Please help.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:57 pm

Ilona, I'm also willing to accept guidance from another experienced guide if demands for your time and attention are too severe. I just seemed to relate very easily to your communication style as evidenced in the book and this website. I've tried to conduct the inquiry independently, and related to aspects of virtually every example in the book, but get lost in my own morass of repetitive thoughts when I do it by myself without someone to help keep me on task. I would be honored by any focused help that is offered.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:47 am

Hi Gail,
Thank you for the call and welcome to the forum.

We can have a chat, all I ask from you is that you write to me when ready and with full honesty, that your answers come from your experience and not from what you read or heard others say.

So what is the I that can die? Can a thought die? Is I more then a thought?


Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:17 pm

Thank you, Ilona. I'll do as you ask.

So what is the I that can die?
The body can die, but "I" am not the body, though this body/mind fears not death but pain and suffering. I don't mind dying; I just don't want to be here when it happens :-) So even though I say I know I am not my body, apparently I still believe the thoughts that imply otherwise.

Okay - so the body can die, and the thinking/feeling apparatus that goes with it. My mind is very active, and I'm pretty attached to it when it's helping me do what I want. I'm deeply identified with thinking, and now I see that I've believed all along that "I" am the one generating the thoughts.

Can a thought die?
A thought has no substance, so no, it can't "die" in the literal sense. Thoughts come and go on their own. A thought just wisps through awareness and is gone. The essence or message of a thought can recur, and if I pay attention to it enough, it seems to congeal into something more solid, like a belief, a "truth." And then with this kind of "solidity," another thought grabs onto it and calls it "me" or "mine" or "I."

I've "known" this and am looking more closely at it now, witnessing, remembering, seeing how it has operated in my life. Also seeing how attached I am to thinking, have a life that has benefitted from having a "good mind," and have "used it" well at times.

But that begs the question, "Who or What is using this mind? Who or What is doing all this thinking?" The knee-jerk response is, "I am." But if that's the case, then "I" can't be this mind or these thoughts. The second thought that occurred to me was, "I have no idea who or what is doing it. It just seems to happen."

Is I more than a thought?
There seems to be something there that is aware, that attends to thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, experiences. It is ever present and very neutral when awareness attends to it, but there all the time and always the same whether attention goes there or not. That's what I truly consider "me."

As I look at it now, it doesn't seem to have any volition of its own. It's just there. It doesn't even serve as a witness in any active sense (know that sounds contradictory), it's just there and has been there in a felt sense for as long as I've been aware of myself.

But it isn't anything that can be touched or seen. It has no voice of its own, but seems to find expression through the "Gail" organism.

So in that sense, "I" is indeed more than a thought, but at the same time it is nothing at all.

I feel like I'm going in circles. Now I'm not even sure what I'm trying to accomplish here! If anything, there is greater certainty that "I Am." Where did I go off track?

Okay. I just re-read my second paragraph above and now see that this ineffable sense of "Am-ness" isn't the "I" that generates thoughts. That "I" has no substance, doesn't exist and never has. Thought flitted in: "I have no idea who I am." Next thought: "So what?"

I "think" I'm really stuck - but it's hysterically funny!

Gonna post this now because I don't know where to go from here.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:18 pm

It is funny, as it seems that there is a ghost in the machine, but there isn't.

Is sense of being, aliveness still here if you name it i/ me / self/ Gail, or not? Does the sense depend on label? Does the sense of being is in control of what is arising in experience?
Can being be switched in or of?
Are you in control of being, in other words, do you need to try to be? Or is it effortless and always on.

When you look at that something that is aware, what is there?
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:15 pm

Thank you, Ilona. I so deeply appreciate your reply and new questions.

Is sense of being, aliveness still here if you name it i/ me / self/ Gail, or not? Does the sense depend on label?

No - It doesn't seem to need any kind of label to be. I could try to call it something to describe it: existence, being, presence, is-ness/am-ness, but doing so doesn't enhance it or make it any more or less accessible. It simply is. It's very tempting, though, to want to capitalize those words to make them more profound or holy (Existence, Being, Presence, etc.), and I know a lot of writers do that because it does feel so essential to who and what we are. It's "me" in an essential sense, but I guess because we all have it and it doesn't seem to have any personal characteristics, i.e., the sense of being isn't personal at all or unique to Gail or anyone else, it's much more than "Gail" could ever be. I don't sense that this essential being has "Gail" characteristics at all. It's just alive and awake in her/me/us.

So, if it doesn't depend on any label or any particular vessel to be, then the personal "me" I took myself to be is somewhat incidental. That beingness doesn't need the Gail organism for it to be, but the Gail organism needs it, or she wouldn't be at all. (Boy, does language fall apart here!)

Does the sense of being is in control of what is arising in experience?

(I think you're asking whether or not I perceive the sense of being as having control of what is arising in experience. Is that accurate?)

If so, this is a slippery one for me to understand. I don't perceive it as controlling what I experience in a way I generally understand "control." It certainly doesn't control how I interpret what is experienced. That seems to be a function of moment-by-moment perception, past experience and conditioning, blah blah blah. But on the other hand, it doesn't seem to be just random, willy-nilly stuff happening. I'm looking to see if that's just wishful thinking or the way it really is. Is there an intentionality to being that points the way somehow or serves as a kind of GPS for the being? If so, that's more reassuring than the idea that there's nothing but empty, random consciousness floating around inhabiting villains and heroines just the same. I'm getting too cerebral with this, I know. I feel stuck with this question. A big, "I dunno!"

Can being be switched in or of? (assume you meant "on or off")

It cannot be switched on or off, but the Gail organism can be more or less aware of it.

Are you in control of being, in other words, do you need to try to be? Or is it effortless and always on.

I am definitely not in control of being! There's no effort at all, and indeed it's always on. I still have a lot of difficulty just letting go mentally and trusting that the cruise control of being will do the job. There's still a kind of grasping and holding onto the false sense of self/me/I. It takes the form of several physical sensations, fearful/anxious/repetitive thoughts, emotional reactiveness sometimes. The usual suspects.

When you look at that something that is aware, what is there?

Here's where language falls apart again. There's emptiness and fullness at the same time. There's light-speed movement and utter stillness. There's a whole lot of nothing that seems mysterious and ineffable and timeless.

Is that what I am/we are/life is? Maybe. Again, "I dunno!" I feel befuddled.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby Ilona » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:54 am

Great! A big don't know is a sign that you are moving out of your comfort zone into the unknown. Good place to be, as it allows you to look with fresh eyes.

Find the sense of separation. Where is it in the body? How do you know it's the sense of separation and not the sense of tension, frustration, resistance, fear? Take a look, what is behind sensations, are the sensations happening to you? Is there a gap between perceived and perceiver? Or it's all one movement of perceiving happening?

What is separate from what?


Sending love.
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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:10 pm

Do you mean a sense of separation from essential being when I still think/believe there's a self?

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby Ilona » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:26 pm

Whatever that means to you.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:19 pm

(I got what I meant by separation right after the post to you.)

When I look for the sense of separation it is felt one instant in the throat, now in the chest, shoulders, back, around the eyes, but most persistently in the throat. Feels like held-back tears or a sob…or a scream. Now in forearms, chest area with shallow, rapid breathing. It's a fighting to hold on to - what? - to "me." Fear, fear, fear. Now tears of frustration with thoughts that I'll always be stuck in this struggle, that the fear will win, and "I'll" lose. But the irony is that there's a thought that if the fear wins, then I can hold on to what I've always believed and "win" that way. Now I feel it in my gut and belly (good grief - no wonder I have IBS and acid reflux!). I'm creating the sense of separation with thought, and the body/mind is working very hard to sustain it.

So, yes, the sense of separation is a made-up misperception that the "self" and life are different. And the body/mind generates this to create a feeling of safety by clinging to what is familiar and deeply conditioned. I feel the resistance, frustration, tension, and fear. They're unpleasant but also very familiar. I know what to expect with them: more of the same; and thoughts suggest that it's better to hang in there with what is known rather than step into the void of not knowing. Imagining a free-fall into empty space, nothingness, "To the air lock with ye!"

There's a couple of layers to this. One - that thoughts are influencing emotions and sensations in an automatic and robotic way ("I am separate. I am me. I'll never get this. Be afraid…be very afraid...")
Two - the illogic of believing that somehow I'm not a part of the all. But now I'm just parroting what I've heard and read. I still don't "get" how it all fits together.

Back to home base; let's try again. If the self doesn't exist, there's nothing and no-one to be separate. It's just an idea that gets repeatedly reinforced. And the only thing a being could possibly be separate from if that first assumption is true would be separate from life, from existence itself. How could that be? It couldn't be. Even if there were a "me," how could that be separate from life, either, since "I" am alive.

But supposedly "I" don't exist anyway.

Circular thoughts, snake eating its tail. Not getting anywhere.

Most sensations just happen - an itch, cramp, pain, etc. Others are provoked by thoughts, like the tight throat and shallow breathing mentioned above; but then they just arise as thoughts come spontaneously, too. I can think, "I'm going to think now about what is behind sensations," but I don't know exactly what thoughts will occur or where they will take me - or what feelings and sensations will arise as a result.

The only gap seems to happen when I start describing and labeling what I'm perceiving, but the labeling seems incessant and automatic and nearly impossible to interrupt. And the "I" thought is the most compelling.

Stuck. Frustrated. Impatient.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:30 pm

I've been meaning to ask: Is it okay to continue with meditation through the course of our conversation. I had been doing Craig Hamilton's "Integral Evolution" stuff, which includes a basic non-dual meditation practice (Allow everything to be as it is/Let go of everything/Become aware of awareness itself/Do nothing at all, etc.), but haven't been practicing for a week or so. Don't want to throw a monkey wrench in our work together.

With gratitude.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby Ilona » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:19 pm

I've been meaning to ask: Is it okay to continue with meditation through the course of our conversation. I had been doing Craig Hamilton's "Integral Evolution" stuff, which includes a basic non-dual meditation practice (Allow everything to be as it is/Let go of everything/Become aware of awareness itself/Do nothing at all, etc.), but haven't been practicing for a week or so. Don't want to throw a monkey wrench in our work together.
You can meditate, but his pointers are assuming that there is a you that can allow or not allow everything to be as it is. There is no such agent. Allowing happens or not, it's not like you have a button and switch surrendering on. So when meditating, look if there is someone here that can become aware, or it is just being aware that is on all the time.

I would recommend to stop reading all books,match all videos and listen to non dual dudes talking and focus in your experience and how you see it.


As for looking through labelling do this exercise and write to me what you notice. What is that labels stick to? http://markedeternal.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/labels.html

Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:21 pm

First, I apologize for not posting anything yesterday. I opted to do the exercise you suggested in longhand instead of typing. Five full-size pages later, I wound up falling asleep, then spent much of today processing and noticing. Here's what's happening:

First, the biggest shock to my assumption system was when you wrote in response to my question about meditating,
Allowing happens or not, it's not like you have a button and switch surrendering on.
That one sparked a short in the system that's still reverberating! I had always - always - tried very, very hard to "let go," to "allow," to "surrender," never questioning if that was something I could "do." And certainly never questioning the notion that there was no "I" to do any of it. There were thoughts like, "How could that be? Whaddaya mean 'allowing happens or not?' There's gotta be a button! I just haven't looked hard enough or in the right place."

Again, that assumption that there is a "me" looking that can find an elusive something, push the button (but it has to be just the right amount of pressure on it at just the right moment), and - voila! - freedom, awakening, liberation, WhooHoo! I DID IT! ("I" being the key here…and a vividly red herring.)

So anyhow, that was the first thing. Then I read the "Labeling" article and wrote my five pages. There were definite differences between using the "I/me/my" labels when describing experience, and just using active verbs to name it. It seems that although labeling in general removed me from the experience itself, using "I" labels made everything even more story-like, as though it was happening to a fictional character (Hmmm...).
What is here without labels?
Everything is here, with or without them. Labeling, which seems involuntary, only takes away from that which is being encountered and becomes the experience itself. It's always a step away from what is really here now. Throw in the "I," and there's even more distance and lack of connection with what is happening. Labels seem to describe what was, not what is right now. When there is looking and being without labels, there is simply experience. I always assumed that words, labels, descriptions were necessary for me to understand my experience. Indeed, even while typing this, it seems that the words appearing on the page - or more accurately, flowing through me and into this post - are important in order for me to move forward or deeper in understanding and seeing what is true. They certainly help to communicate my experience to you. But the words aren't the experience itself. Even without words, what is being experienced is known. It's a mystery to me.

The main point here is that throughout the day there has been a kind of falling away of a few onionskin- thin layers of identification with "me." Laying on the acupuncturist's table with needles in various parts of my body, noticing sensations that may or may not have been uncomfortable; seeing the light through the curtain, the beautiful artwork on the walls; hearing the music and ambient sounds; noticing the noticing and the "me" label coming and going (mainly gone as feeling real in those moments). There seems to be a subtle shift happening, occasional letting go that has been happening off and on. When there is looking for "me" but not finding anything there - and no fear at that nothing (well sometimes a little!) - there is hope and gladness.

Thank you, Ilona. This is proving to be amazing. I am SO grateful.

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby capestar47 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:01 am

It also seems that the level of physical tension affects awareness: tension=mind jabber, dullness, reactiveness, more "me"; more physical relaxation=greater flow, moment here-ness, awakens, less "me."

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Re: I'm ready, Ilona. Will you help me?

Postby Ilona » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:12 am

No need to apologise for not posting, you can post when you are ready and have something to say. Of course it's good to keep momentum going and reply every day.

There's got to be a button! Hehe, sweet thought, but as you see, nothing is happening as you will it, it's just happening, or not. :)

Yes, you see it- words, descriptions are not experience, it's a reflection of experience. Without thinking life is still happening and with thinking too. Thinking is not a problem, it's part of the flow.

It's a good point to make a trip into nature and watch the totality of movement.

You an sit on a bench in spark or if no such possibility, looking through an open window is just as good.
Notice, everything moves and wiggles- it's all one movement. That includes wind, trees, people, animals, this body, breath, emotion, thoughts, all is in motion.

Take a look, is there an orchestrator, conductor that makes movement go this way or another?
Is there a puppet master and a puppet, that moves as strings are pulled?
Is there a doer or movement?

How does movement of clouds resemble movement of thoughts?

What is that drives this body? What drives a body of a fly?
Is life happening to you, through you or as you?

Report what you notice :)
Much love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com


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