I am Looking for a Guide.

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Violet
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I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:10 am

Please could I have a guide? I would like to go through this process and see where it takes me. Thank you.

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moondog
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby moondog » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:10 am

Hi Violet 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, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for. Also, what time zone are you're in - I'm in Somerset in the UK.

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 100% 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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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:15 pm

Tell me a bit about yourself, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for. Also, what time zone are you're in - I'm in Somerset in the UK.
__________________________
I'm 41, I've been searching for a long time, since my early 20s, not spiritually exactly, mostly it's been a theraputic process. I came to LU through BATGAP. I read some of what is here and cried and felt that I was just a piece of life. I'm not living that feeling but it is there all the same and so I am here to explore that. I'm in the UK too. I'm writing this on my phone so I'm sorry I haven't used the quote function yet.
____________________________________
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.
________________________________
Yes I agree.
_______________________________
I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.
____________________________
Okay. Thank you.
_____________________________
In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty. Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.
______________________________
Okay, I will do that to the best of my ability.
_______________________________
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.)
________________________
I will read that today.
_________________________
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.)
__________________________
I will do that.
__________________________
Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?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.
______________________________
I have read the disclaimer. I will watch the video today.
______________________________
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?
______________________________
I don't know. So far I found reading this site very moving. I want to explore what is here because it has meaning for me even if I don't really understand why.
_______________________________
What is it that you are searching for?
__________________________________
In my life, I guess it's more of an experience I had once doing Primal Therapy. I was one, at peace, still, there didn't even seem to be any breath.
___________________________________
How will you know that you found it?
____________________________________
I don't know yet. Feelings do surprise me when they come.
____________________________________
How will this feel?
___________________________________
Again, I don't know. I can't anticipate what I don't know.
___________________________________
How will this change you?
___________________________________
I don't know. One thing that surprised me recently was when I was a passenger in a car on a long drive. My mind was at rest, I was present and just in experience. I wondered if that was connected to having read this site and crying so I came to try this process.
____________________________________
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.

_____________________
Thank you for offering to help, I really appreciate that you would do this. Thank you.

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:15 pm

Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?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.
I've seen these, I agree to the disclaimer and I'd like you to be my guide. Thank you.

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moondog
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby moondog » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:36 pm

Hi Violet

Thanks for accepting me as your guide, for letting me know a bit about yourself and for accepting all the various conditions etc.
What are your expectations for this process?
I don't know. So far I found reading this site very moving. I want to explore what is here because it has meaning for me even if I don't really understand why.
Thanks, that and your other answers are pretty realistic in terms of expectations, in as much as you haven't really arrived at anything particular or specific. Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a "you", a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

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. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

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 in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same.

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?


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

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:32 am

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?
I feel a tightening in my chest, I'm crying, I feel a tension in my head at the back.

I'm thinking about when I nearly died. I felt that only death itself would teach me about surrender and I was a bit disappointed. There was nothing really other than life or suddenly not life and I felt life determined to go on in me. It makes me very sad to think about this. My body is a vessel and life does what it will with it.

I feel sad and quiet.

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moondog
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby moondog » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:00 pm

Hi Violet,
I feel a tightening in my chest, I'm crying, I feel a tension in my head at the back.
I'm thinking about when I nearly died. I felt that only death itself would teach me about surrender and I was a bit disappointed. There was nothing really other than life or suddenly not life and I felt life determined to go on in me. It makes me very sad to think about this. My body is a vessel and life does what it will with it.
I feel sad and quiet.
The prospect of discovering that there really is no you, no self-entity, isn't something that most people take lightly so it's not surprising that you should feel some feelings of anxiety, tension, sadness, together with thoughts around death. It's quite common to have these feelings when the truth of no-self starts to really kick in. So, although it's clearly unpleasant and can be disturbing, don't worry, it's a good sign. Consider any fear you have of no-self to be a protective mechanism. It's doing its job perfectly, and it's a loyal friend and protector.

Can you look at the fear itself, how it works, and where it is felt in the body? Ask it to come closer. Check that raw feeling. Is it personal? Ask it what it's protecting. What is it that it does not want you to find out? Thank it, and look behind the fear as if you would be taking a peek with curiosity. What is behind it?

Don'y worry, you won't 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.

While we're still at this early stage, I'd just like to stress 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.

During this guiding, I'd like to take you gradually, in a loosely structured, flexible way, through all areas of experience, to see if you can find a self here. So that you can actually SEE for yourself.

As I've just said, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

More of that later, let's now, at last, get down to the investigation proper. First question:

When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?"

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

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:00 pm

Pete, I will have to reply tomorrow properly, I am sorry I don't have time today to do justice to the question. So far I can't find me, I, but I'll look again tomorrow and think about fear.

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moondog
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby moondog » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:17 pm

Ok Violet, thanks for letting me know.

Look forward to hearing from you tomorrow. Have a good evening.

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

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:18 pm

When I close my eyes and try to locate "I" I find that I can't. There is nothing that is actually me. My imagination constructs a hovering somewhere in and around my head, but it is just my imagination. There is no actual me at all.

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:51 am

Pete, I am sorry my reply was so late yesterday. I didn't get a chance to write until the evening.

I haven't felt fear thinking about there being no I, but I have have felt very sad. I feel like I'm losing something. I don't know what I'm losing though.

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moondog
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby moondog » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:37 pm

Hi Violet,
Pete, I am sorry my reply was so late yesterday. I didn't get a chance to write until the evening.
That's not a problem Violet. So long as we both try to post every day, we can keep up the sort of momentum that's needed to explore effectively where a self, an 'I', might be, so that you can get to that Gateless Gate.

Just to say, although we are solely concerned here with seeing for a fact that there is no separate self, I'm going to continue with the "everyday' usage of words like I, me, you etc., simply because communicating effectively without using words like these can be a real pain. When appropriate, I'll express them as 'I', 'you' etc.
I haven't felt fear thinking about there being no I, but I have have felt very sad. I feel like I'm losing something. I don't know what I'm losing though.
I know exactly what you mean; it's common to feel a kind of sweet sadness at this point; I know I did. But just remember that you're not really losing anything at all, because this self, this 'I', was never there in the first place. It isn't there now and it never has been. All that you're losing is an illusion, a wrong view!
When I close my eyes and try to locate "I" I find that I can't. There is nothing that is actually me. My imagination constructs a hovering somewhere in and around my head, but it is just my imagination. There is no actual me at all.
Great, that's good to know. And really,when you look in direct experience, your imagination is just a succession of thoughts isn't it?

So anyway, let's start investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer (or not):

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


Lots of love,

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

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:28 am

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
There is no actual I looking. I keep coming back to a heaviness that is "me" but it's just muscle tension in my eyes. My desire to exist I think, but when I examine it, there is only looking. That's true of all my senses.

Thank you so much for your help with this Pete. It is extremely kind of you to offer to guide me through this process.

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moondog
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby moondog » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:43 pm

Hi Violet,
There is no actual I looking. I keep coming back to a heaviness that is "me" but it's just muscle tension in my eyes. My desire to exist I think, but when I examine it, there is only looking. That's true of all my senses.
That's good that you can see that there is no 'I' looking, hearing , feeling etc.

Can you see that there is just seeing, hearing etc., and it's just happening without any need for a 'you'?

Could you say a bit more about 'the heaviness that is me'? Is there a thought telling you that the tension in your eyes is you, or is it something else?

Also, can you see that your desire to exist is just a thought that comes and goes?


There's a quote from the Bahiya Sutta, which succinctly sums up our investigation into no-self, where the Buddha says:
Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.
Thank you so much for your help with this Pete. It is extremely kind of you to offer to guide me through this process
It's just a pleasure to help you to see through the illusion of a separate self.

Let's move on to looking for the self as doer/controller

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no "I" involved, but how is it for you when walking?

How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?

Is there any "I" there for any of these actions, or are they just like "automatic"?

Look to see whether, when "you" do these things there is sometimes a thought, just after that says, "I did that."

Are all actions 'automatic?'


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

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Violet
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Re: I am Looking for a Guide.

Postby Violet » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:46 pm

Can you see that there is just seeing, hearing etc., and it's just happening without any need for a 'you'?

Could you say a bit more about 'the heaviness that is me'? Is there a thought telling you that the tension in your eyes is you, or is it something else?

Also, can you see that your desire to exist is just a thought that comes and goes?
I went for a walk today and noticed that I was moving and "me" thinking about moving is all a beat behind what actually happens. My thinking is behind the act itself.

The tension in my eyes is, I think, my thoughts trying to construct a physical self from something. As if sensation is a self. When I let go of the habitual tension in my eyes, all that is happening is seeing.

I see that the desire to exist as a self is just a thought.

I feel dreamy and odd going through this process. I am not my thoughts. My thoughts think that perhaps behind thoughts are faster thoughts that make up "me". When I examine that, it's not true but my thoughts cling to the idea that they make up me.


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