Please help with guidance

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NikaJ
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Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:02 am

Hello,

I've been reading the Gateless Gatecrashers book. I seem to understand that the way to find truth is to question the I. I've been trying to do this, and the answer that comes up is that "I" am the voice that asks "who am I". Thinking is a bit like breathing, it happens on its own, but can be also controlled. So for example I can think - what should I do this evening, and I can reason and decide what I would like. Thats where I am right now. The idea expressed in the book seems right, and I feel drawn to it. Please if anyone is available, I would love to see this through.

Thank you.

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:02 pm

Hi NikaJ,

My name is Brigitte and I will happily guide you through this process. There are a few standard ground rules before we start:

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

Please would you confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide.

There are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:

1. You agree to post at least once a day.
2. In general, I will ask the questions for you to respond to.
3. Responses require your utmost honesty
4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
5. Please learn to use the quote function as shown in Announcements section at the top of the Guiding Area.

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. It's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.

What brings you to L.U.? How did you find us?

What are your expectations for this process?

How will you know that you found it?

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.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Brigitte

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:17 pm

Hi Bridgitte,

Thank you so much. I would love for you to guide me.

I've read the disclaimer and watched the video.

I will do my best to honestly respond at write at least once a day, although I may miss some weekends as I am usually away from the computer. But I'll do my best.

I think I got the quote function.


I found LU from a thread on the Dharma Overground forum, which I visit from time to time. After reading parts (still in the middle of it) of the Gateless Gatecrashers book, I think that this is a golden opportunity to have someone guide me through this seemingly tricky process. I have read a number of books like Jed Mckenna, Alan Watts, Greg Goode. But it feels like I'm not exactly getting the message, at least on a felt base level.

I'm looking for the truth, and in particular for the truth of "I". At the moment i get a feeling of haziness and confusion and frustration when I look for I, or kind of an assumption that the one asking is the I itself.

I really don't have any expectations of this process, even though I read through a number of them in the book. I have a feeling that its somewhat personal to the one being guided. I am excited and a bit scared though.

I think that realization of the truth will free me from unneccasary emotional reactions to events in life. I realize that its all good and all flow, but only when the flow is agreeable and nice, not when I am in a middle of a problem.

So thats it I think, I am really really looking forward to working with you, and I do realize that most of my sentences start with "I" so I guess we have some work to do.

Thank you again.

I promise to stay away from all spiritual themed books and teachings.

Cheers.

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:09 pm

Hello again,

How would you like me to address you? Is it NikaJ?
I'm looking for the truth, and in particular for the truth of "I".
The truth we look for at LU is that ‘I’ is an illusion. The method for this enquiry is to use our senses and we term this Direct Experience. There is a full explanation of this under the Articles section in the Main Menu of this site which I would recommend you read before we start.

If there is anything you are unsure of, or you are unhappy with the pace of this investigation, please let me know.

So, let’s begin.

What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no ‘you’ in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be? Refer to any physical sensations that may arise and also any dominant thoughts.

Warm wishes
Brigitte

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:19 pm

Hi Brigitte,

Please call me Nika.

When reading that there is no and never was an I, thoughts come up in argument to the statement, such as "who is reading this then", memories come up from childhood "who was that then"? There seems to be a tightness or pressure in the throat area when focusing on these thoughts. Also there is a feeling of excitement, that something that has been accepted as 100% true may be not true. After re-reading your statement, thoughts on what is meant by "you" or "I" emerge. But in answer there is a felt sense of I here, so I assume that that is what is being referred to.

Thoughts of the nature of I have arisen, as in is I composed of memories and present sensations, but again there is a sense or feeling that there is something more than that, something that is essentially "me".

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:42 pm

Good morning, Nika.
When reading that there is no and never was an I, thoughts come up in argument to the statement, such as "who is reading this then", memories come up from childhood "who was that then"?
Who is reading this then? Good question.

There is obviously reading occurring and an awareness of that. Looking in your direct experience right now, can you find an ‘I’ that is reading. If so, what does it look like, does it have a size, colour and shape? Use your senses for this. The senses are all that we have at our disposal to know the truth of anything. A thing needs to be sensed in order to prove its existence. Do you agree? If not, how else can we know whether it exists or not?
Memories come up from childhood.
Do you sense these memories or are they thoughts only? Have a look. Tell me how these are experienced.
there is a sense or feeling that there is something more than that, something that is essentially "me".
Could this sense relate to the sense of ‘being alive’? What tells you that it is personal?

Speak soon.

Brigitte x

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:40 pm

Hi Brigitte,

Using my physical senses, I cannot find the "I". Its seems that its not a material or physical object. It may be hazily defined as a feeling? Or like an emotion, in that an emotion can also be said to not have size colour or shape. What comes up now is that "I" is the awareness (of reading or anything else) from a particular point of view. So there is reading, and awareness of this reading, and it is in this place and time.

I do agree that if something is not sensed it cannot be proved, but there are things that are felt, like again pain or joy, that cannot be described in physical or material terms?
Do you sense these memories or are they thoughts only? Have a look. Tell me how these are experienced.
Memories are definetly thoughts, but what distinguishes them is that they can be accessed at will (sometimes) and remain relatively the same, for example if I remember my 12th birthday right now, I can also remember it tomorrow or in 2 weeks and it will be somewhat the same memory. But again all this is seen as thought, or maybe a particular category of thought.

Could this sense relate to the sense of ‘being alive’? What tells you that it is personal?
It is the sense of being alive, but also in addition its the sense of perspective, or again a point of view being alive, making it personal, as in no one else is sharing this perspective or awareness at this moment, so it can be called "mine".


I feel a little obtuse not getting this, but I really do desire to see through this, and to see this through.

Thank you for doing this, I hope I am not testing your patience.

Best,

Nika

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:58 pm

Hi

Thanks, Nika. We have only just begun with this and no, you are not testing my patience.
I do agree that if something is not sensed it cannot be proved, but there are things that are felt, like again pain or joy, that cannot be described in physical or material terms?
Yes, but pain or joy can be verified in direct experience (DE) as a felt sense. The feeling clearly exists and thought labels it ‘pain’ or ‘joy’. The raw experience is there. Do you see that?
It is the sense of being alive, but also in addition its the sense of perspective, or again a point of view being alive, making it personal, as in no one else is sharing this perspective or awareness at this moment, so it can be called "mine".
It may feel personal but the perspective is just a thought. In awareness, where is the perspective of others? Does it exist?
Memories are definetly thoughts, but what distinguishes them is that they can be accessed at will (sometimes)
We will come back to looking at thoughts later on.

Please do the next exercise for me. Sit down for 5 minutes and write down as a list what is experienced. i.e. I hear birds singing, I feel my tummy rumbling, I watch a car drive past etc. Then repeat the exercise but this time with no reference to an ‘I’, such as: hearing birds singing, watching car drive past….

What do you notice from doing this exercise?

Brigitte

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:53 am

Hello Brigitte.
Yes, but pain or joy can be verified in direct experience (DE) as a felt sense. The feeling clearly exists and thought labels it ‘pain’ or ‘joy’. The raw experience is there. Do you see that?
Yes I see the existence of pain or joy as feelings in the body, which is not the case for the sense of "I".
In awareness, where is the perspective of others?
I don't think I clearly understand this question. I think the absence of the perspective of others in awareness is what creates the feeling that it is "my" awareness.

I just did the exercise. It became awkward during the first part to keep using I. I wanted to just write the experience. The second part felt more natural, just straight experience - writing, experience - writing.

Is the I a grammatical or language convenience which I came to believe as fact?


Cheers.

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:42 am

Hi,
I think the absence of the perspective of others in awareness is what creates the feeling that it is "my" awareness.
Why is it necessary to call it ‘my’ awareness in the absence of others? Does this awareness belong to you? It is obvious awareness is here in any given moment (if not, you would not be aware of the moment, let alone anything else going on), but where is the ’I’ it belongs to in DE? Look for it. Make a habit of looking for ‘I’ at any time of the day. Really look and see if you can find it.
I just did the exercise. It became awkward during the first part to keep using I. I wanted to just write the experience. The second part felt more natural, just straight experience - writing, experience - writing.
Good. Yes, without ‘I’, it is just straight experience.

Time for a couple of exercises. This next one is quite an ‘eye opener’!

Next time you take a shower, watch closely what is happening. Concentrate solely with this task and try not to think of anything else. Stand as the observer and look to see if you are doing any of it. Do you make your hands move or does this happen automatically? If, you believe you do, how do you make your hands move, slowly or fast, in a particular way? If you believe you do, do you need to think of each hand beforehand, what it will do, how it will do it?

Go and make yourself a cup of tea/coffee in the kitchen. Do you get up, make your legs walk, switch on kettle, reach for a cup, fill it up etc.? Or is it automatic? Really watch the action as it happens.

Have fun and really look!

Brigitte

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:44 am

Hello Brigitte,
Make a habit of looking for ‘I’ at any time of the day. Really look and see if you can find it.
I tried to do this during the whole day. Whenever I actively try to find I, its not there. Its like there is an I shaped hole in awareness surrounded by senses, feelings, stimuli. I will keep paying attention. However the moment I stop paying attention, or more precisely when I notice that I am not paying attention, there is a feeling like "I" was just there. Its a bit strange. But yeah fun too.

take a shower
It is strange. Again things are happening on their own, several things at once, which are obviously not under some kind of "my" control. There is a sense that I can tap into a motion of the hand for example and speed it up or slow it down, but in the meantime other motions are happening on their own. Also, even though there is a sense of speeding up or slowing down or changing direction of a movement, the actual decision on what to do doesn't from "I". Basically trying to say that I don't seem to decide what to decide, if that makes any more sense.

Same thing with the coffee, although I had intent on making coffee because of the exercise, the time when I actually got up to make it kind of came on its own I think. As did all the different little actions that go into making coffee.

There is still as sense, or maybe I should call it a habit, that when I don't look, the self is there. Maybe its just in memory. There is a memory of me taking a shower. Or just taking a shower? and some kind of "I" taking credit for it?

I hope my writing is not too confusing.

Thank you.

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:47 pm

Hello Nika,
Also, even though there is a sense of speeding up or slowing down or changing direction of a movement, the actual decision on what to do doesn't from "I". Basically trying to say that I don't seem to decide what to decide, if that makes any more sense.


Yes, good noticing, Nika! There is a sense the ‘I’ decides to speed things up or down, but if you look closely, that is just a thought. A thought arises suggesting to change the pace and hand moves automatically or an ‘I’ thought claims to have initiated the change. There is no actual ‘I’ doing anything, is there?
There is still as sense, or maybe I should call it a habit, that when I don't look, the self is there. Maybe its just in memory. There is a memory of me taking a shower. Or just taking a shower? and some kind of "I" taking credit for it?
Whether you look or not, doesn’t change the reality. There is no ‘I’, but the sense continues.

Let’s look at the senses now. Look what is happening in this moment. With your five senses, see what you experience. Sights, sounds, tastes, smells, tactile sensations, even thoughts.

Notice the sounds you’re hearing, like the sound of voices, the wind blowing, the sound of traffic or music playing. Notice the habitual thought “I hear that.” Now just pay attention to how sound happens. Take your time with it. Are you doing the hearing, or is it just happening? Where does sound start and end? With closed eyes, check if there is a line between here and there. Can it be defined?

Look at an object. Where does it start and end? What is the experience of looking? Is there any separation between you and the object?

Now close your eyes and touch an object. Where do you end and it starts? What does your direct experience tell you? What do thoughts say? Describe.

In all of the 3 exercises above, do you notice a difference between the actual sensing experience and the thought of them. Does thinking about them change the experience? How?

Please answer as fully as possible so I get a sense of what you experience. These are tricky exercises but don’t stress over them, just look closely.

Best wishes
Brigitte

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:50 pm

Hi Brigitte,

I'm posting as per our agreement. I don't have the ability to do a full writeup at the moment. I've been doing the exercises though and will come back on Monday with all my experiences.

All the best,

Nika

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aubergine99
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby aubergine99 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:26 pm

Thanks for letting me know. Have a good weekend.

Brigitte

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NikaJ
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Re: Please help with guidance

Postby NikaJ » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:42 am

Hello Brigitte,
A thought arises suggesting to change the pace and hand moves automatically or an ‘I’ thought claims to have initiated the change. There is no actual ‘I’ doing anything, is there?
I can see that the thought arises from somewhere/unknown/no thought, and then there is a decision (which is another thought), and so on so a stream of thoughts arises and at some point there seems to be a claiming of these thoughts as I. When looked at, there is no I. But the claim of I still is there.

Notice the sounds you’re hearing...
I did this exercise several times, it seems very pleasurable to do. The hearing is definitely just happening. I cannot not hear actually. With sounds, its kind of both, meaning that I can define a sound and say that that is the sound of a car, but it is also a part of the whole sound which is everything, just changing. The defining of the sound into category is a thought though, so without thinking there is just sound which changes. In placing the sound, that again happens with thought, so if the car sound is low, I can think that the car is far away, and so on. It is a bit different with voices, as there is information and meaning in voices, and there are reactions happening depending on that information. But it all seems to be just happening, no decision on what the reaction will be. Again there still seems to be a sense of an I, like a thought that if a fire alarm goes of or my son starts crying, "I" will come to action and do whatever needs to be done in that moment.
Look at an object.
This exercise was a bit trickier. I can tell that I am so used to looking from a perspective of "I" that is it hard to divorce myself from that. I kind of get on a thinking level that, same as the sound field, the visual field can be viewed as one totality, but of course again I can see and differentiate objects in this field.
Regarding the separation, my common way of looking says of course, there is a book, and here I am. I can also see how the book and everything in the field of vision is in awareness and has no separation. But again that seems like intellectual seeing, and not real seeing. Its like a painting of a chair and a book. I can see that that's a chair and that's a book, but I can also see that its all one painting. And I can also see that me seeing the painting and the wall and the room is also one thing.
Now close your eyes and touch an object.
This was the weirdest exercise. Without thought, there seems to be no connection between the touch-feeling of an object and what it actually is. There is recognition of the object from memory, but without memory the feeling sense is completely different. I don't know if I am being clear. The information received from touch does not give any indication of what the object will visually look like, without using memory. Direct experience of touch seems to be indescribable by words. But then thought comes in naming the touch feeling - paper, table, and so on.


There was a moment a few days ago when I was walking outside and there was a realization that the thoughts going on in my head were not "my" thoughts. Just thoughts. It was very nice.

OK I think I've rambled enough. Please excuse all the confusion, its the same with me, this all seems pretty confusing at the moment. Like I can almost get it but it slips away, and then there is a thought that of course what I have always thought is right, and these are just kind of thought experiments or something. This does not discourage me actually, gives me more desire to go through. I am starting to disbelieve my thoughts :)

Cheers, and Thanks.


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