Caro requesting Ilona to guide

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Caro92
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Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:39 pm

Hi Ilona,
I am ready to get started and would love it if you would guide me. I have practiced for some time in a Buddhist context. I have read, listened to, talked about the fact that there is no self, and want to un-'know' and actually discover or experience this directly myself.
Love Caro

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:21 pm

Hi Caro,
Welcome to the forum :) it would be my pleasure to assist you.

Tell me a bit about your journey so far and what is it you are looking for? What should be different? What change is expected.

All you need is write from own experience, in whole honesty and at least once a day.. Looking forward to you reply.

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

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Caro92
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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:48 pm

Thank you for offering to help me. I really appreciate that. I'm feeling excited and a bit shy as I get started. I don't find it very easy to express myself in words, but I trust you will ask for clarification if you don't understand what I am trying to get at. I've read the introduction and guide to using the forum, and assent to your requests.

From my late teens I've wanted to understand what causes suffering in myself and others when external circumstances and events didn't seem to explain the experience of unhappiness and sense of being bound. This lead me into exploring Buddhism, and samatha practices, meditation retreats and a fair bit of working with my body with things like Hatha yoga, all of which have been helpful. I've a deepening experience of how my belief of 'me' as central director causes problems and suffering for myself and others, and though I can get fed up with the constant self referring, also just what a tenacious operating factor that is! I'm looking to actually experience that this notion that I call me doesn't exist, not just conceptually know it or intuit it. I'm looking for, hoping to be released from the entanglements and energy caught up in my stories about me. I'm sure that will continue but I won't be able to believe that as true.

Although it's not particularly apparent right now, I'm sure there is still some looking for 'the magic pill' for a happy ever after, lurking somewhere even though I don't really believe that. But if I didn't believe or intuit that this is going to lead to more freedom and compassion I wouldn't be entering this dialogue with you. It's just I very much suspect it won't be quite like what I imagine from where I am now. I also have a collection of fears/concerns like, I won't make it through the gate; end up with egg on my face; get caught in the reverse of what I'm looking for i.e. in a slightly disconnected nihilistic place and a crusty heart: Fear of loosing control, which doesn't make logical sense if there never existed anyone in control to loose control, but that fear sure can arise, though usually I've already distracted myself into something else.

I have had experiences of where for a time I seem to have forgotten about shaping, driving myself; trying to fix and figure things out. All 'that' has taken a back seat and there is an experience of more flow and responding with life: I'm not evaluating or even that concerned about whether experience is pleasurable or painful. It's only when I'm back with a stronger sense of self preoccupation that I realise what a relief it was not to have that, but I haven't seen through my belief and long for that. So in answer to you asking what change is expected, I expect a change in perspective, and life experienced as simpler, less kicking at life as it unfolds. That i will respond to life with more delight and wonder and more of an open and less defended heart. I am also experiencing stepping into the unknown, excitement and OMG, like pushing off on a toboggan down a slope and I just don't know how the ride is going to go. It's easy to write 'I know I don't know' and also know how strongly I hold onto the belief of a separate self even when conceptually I know that isn't true; but sitting with this I also experience there is too a strong desire to see through, I don't care what it takes but would like the help to keep on track.
Sending love

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:06 pm

Thank you for nice intro, you express yourself perfectly.

You sat you are waiting for magic pill, what is that you are hoping to change? More freedom, more compassion, yes, but what is in the way if this now? Right this moment, is anything incomplete?

Yes, you can not imagine what this seeing is like until you actually see, so it is best not to create any expectations. They are in a way of seeing. What we are looking at is what is obvious already, it is always here now, in experience.

Write down what you are noticing- is there a separate self here now? If so, in what form or shape? Where? How do you know it's separate? From what exactly?
Don't think about this, but look in experience- what is being experienced now? Is there a self in the sound? In colour? Are you making all this move? Do you make the heart beat?

Is it possible that life moves by itself? Is there any evidence that it doesn't?

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

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Caro92
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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:37 pm

Hi,
There is a lot in your reply so I took one bit to start.
'More freedom and compassion but what is in the way of this right now" ('me, stories) "right now is anything incomplete?"
No.
Then thinking starts. Yes but .... I'm not trying right now to get anything done, a task or communication.
Right now?
No. Then again thinking and an attitude I need to strive, shape myself into something.
Right now there doesn't seem anything is incomplete, how could anything be incomplete it just is and is changing.... Then comes, but it may not be later and need to be prepared for that. Gosh so much belief in striving to be better in someway that takes me away from actual experience.

"Is it possible that life moves by itself? Is there any evidence that it doesn't ?

Life does, but I don't. So am I saying I'm not part of life? Something happened then for a few seconds, a sort of falling away shock opening and then that crack is gone.
Focusing on hearing. Well that is happening and I'm not in control. I'm not in control of the colours I see. Thoughts? Well they Are happening and I can't stop them coming. I think I am shaping them but the stories about my experience just came.
So seeing is happening; hearing is happening; stories are happening.... And there is a choosing of what bit of your message I've focused on. Well that seemed initially with out me choosing, but there is an unpindownable sense going on now of I suppose a 'me' that is focusing or directing attention to find out whether in my experience life moves by itself.

Is it helpful here to spend more time with where I can't find a me doing which confounds me, or where the sense of me seems stronger?

Sending love and delight of the spring sunshine

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:34 pm

Great to notice, that righ now all is complete. The incompleteness shows up when thinking starts. It's thoughts about incompleteness. A story about something that should be different, but notice this- it's always a story about what is not happening. Now here all is well, thought stories about incompleteness (any other feeling) create an illusion that it is so.

Interesting that I is seen as not part of life. "I don't move by itself" is this true?
Can you find that separate self with free will, that is moving this body, mind and feelings? Is it a sensation? Can it be touched, smelled, seen, heard or tasted?

What exactly is the sense of me? Find it. Feel that sense, is it sense of being? Aliveness? Is it constant or comes and goes? When it's here, is life happening to this sense?

Write what you see, what feels true.

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

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:57 pm

I've been noticing at different times in the day when stories start, and there have been a couple of good triggers that prompted strong stories and feelings, and yes they are about things not actually happening. What was actually happening was ok. How mad to believe what isn't actually happening to be true!!

Looking to see for myself what exactly is this sense of me that is separate and has free will.

Yes it comes and goes. (I say well that's because I have zoned out a bit, or got distracted) It's not the same though as going back into the kitchen and there is the kitchen table which I can see and experience the sensations of touching it. The sensations experienced I believe and certainly call me versus the table, me interacting with the table. Cognitively I can agree that that would happen with out it being called me.
'I' comes in strongly opening a stroppy email from someone yesterday. Life happening, interacting. The point where I thought, there must have been some miscommunication and didn't follow my fist impulse of a reply, is harder to see as life just moving by itself. But I didn't notice any difference in the way righteous indignation arose, to "maybe there has been a misunderstanding"and not dashing off an indignant email. Mmm.

I tripped. Clearly I didn't will or orchestrate how my body rebalanced so I didn't fall on my face but
'I' chose to pick up what I had dropped rather than leave it on the floor.

I'm aware of an expectation that if there isn't a self willing, or able to pull the strings on occasion what happens will be random and chaotic.

Me i seem to attach to the knowing of different experiences; to feeling alive, yes, and to experiencing life happening. Doing Qi gong I couldn't experience where I actually ended and what I call life not me started. Though I then went with well me must be that which knows. I got well scrambled trying to see what that was in my actual experience and went back to just getting on doing some Qi gong with relief. I'd been noticing how stories clearly were not about what was actually happening. Now I wasn't going to give up my story that me must be the knower even though I couldn't actually experience that.

I'm appreciating how it is helpful jotting things down on bits of paper. At times I suddenly cut out,resistance, I can't remember at all what I had been doing or exploring.

With love and appreciation of your replies, Caro

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:59 am

Hi Caro.

Yes, it's very helpful to write thoughts down and see them in front of you. Keep writing what you feel is true.

You say that the sense of me comes and goes, perhaps it's not sense of me? Can it be sense of frustration, resistance, tension, contraction is labelled ME?
Does this sense if me come in happy, joyful situations or mostly when reaction happens? Is it possible, that it is not ME that reacts, but reactions are just happening, like an itch and a scratch?

If painful spot on the body is hit, what happens? - ouch, moving away, covering place with a hand, protecting the hurt from further intensity. Isn't that what happens when emotional wound is touched? Does it mean there is an I that contracts? Do reactions need a self to happen?

Have a look through the day, are reactions happening by themselves or there is a me behind pulling the strings?

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

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Caro92
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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:16 pm

Hi Ilona,

Today I have been noticing as often as I've managed, that yes emotional reactions happen in the same way as bodily reactions (like tripping and rebalancing to not fall over). No one is pulling the strings.

Surprise to find I'm moved and tearful taking in that just as my hand automatically moves away from something very hot, the same is happening to emotional wounds. The sudden focus, alert response to danger/pain is life responding. There is no string puller doing this. The sudden experience of contraction is just that; then I use the label 'I' feel ..... But I can see it needed no 'I' to happen.

Like a character arriving late on the scene of a drama saying "ok, I'm here I'm getting this sorted" when appropriate action has already happened, the next responses after the initial reaction I'm believing is me then pulling the strings, but as I write I'm wobbling on feeling certain about this.
I can't articulate quite the tears, perhaps I feel a bit silly writing, but rather than life moving in a chaotic way with out an 'I', it's happening creatively, and I experience a relaxing.

Sending love

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:28 pm

Yes, it's always been like this- mind/ voice in the head narrates what is happening, where focus, attention goes.

See how it works now, look around the room slowly, notice what happens with the voice when focus shifts.
Have a look, is this something you are doing or it's happening by itself?

Are you in control of focus?
Are you in control of story? Test it.

How about feelings? Notice how thoughts immediately start labelling feelings and sensations,
watch it happening. Notice watching it happening. In this wide open now.

Is there a witness? Feeler? Thinker? Or these are labels that describe experience?
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Caro92
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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:01 pm

I was just about to post this when I got your message. Thank you. I will follow your invitation to explore this, and let you know.

Picking out pieces from what I have written today. Still troubled about 'life just happening' no separate thing pulling the strings. How are choices happening?? I try as best I can to observe. Marmalade or marmite on my toast, I like both and swallow marmalade. I say 'I' chose that but am not entirely convinced. There is a desire to keep engaging with looking to really see the illusion of self, I keep coming back even with frustrations, resistances and all the rest coming up. I call that me but it is more a label for experience, it's different to the stories about me that I can see Caro there is fictional, a gathering of different memories, judgements, stories, preferences and what ever. Even my description of Caro varies so much, if it was a novel any reader would get totally confused as to who she was. The process of referring back to I or Caro isn't pleasant and leads to a bumpy ride, and the story itself isn't great usually either. Yet I do it over and over.

I notice how my enquiry has a tendency to end up coming mostly from my head when I was having difficulty getting a handle on quite what the resistance was to there being no self to choose. Tried asking from more of my embodiment. Something in my heart is really concerned hearing 'life just happening' that choices will happen that lead to more suffering. Giving that space. The flip of this was desire for that suffering not to be, that no 'I' was there pushing for or willing for that, and a period of deepening relaxation happened. Not a seeing through anything.

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:23 am

What is the trouble if life IS just happens?
Have a look if life is happening to you or as you?
Is life happening to this body or as this?
To objects, feelings, sensations, stories, people, animals, etc, or as all this?
Is anything excluded from life?

Just a few more questions for you to play with.

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

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Caro92
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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:43 am

Hi Ilona,
More things to play with, great, thank you so much. I'd just stopped exploring your last post, which I include below.....onto the next!

Moving my head slowly around the room. Yep no control of the labelling that happens. Sometimes the internal voice speaking, other times the labelling is a quick clocking, with out articulated word: feeling it's the same: sometimes there is appraisal happening - like don't like or some bit of memory coming in association. But yes I'm not in control, it's just happening.

Focus. I'm moving my head so there is a moving field of view, but I'm not in control of quite where awareness focuses in seeing. This is very clear when I quickly turn my head from one side to the other. I explore saying I will just focus on that one bit. While there is a continuing experience of red and folds of tea shirt labelled such, my focus is hopping about noticing other things within the field of focus, not in my control at all, let alone quick switches to hearing and labelling sound or something else. Definitely no control there! Just happening.

Sitting alone in this room noticing this lack of control, fear didn't arise, some amusement, nor was there a sense of doing the exercises 'in my head', by that I suppose I mean a sense of separation.

" is there a witness,feeler, thinker or these are labels describing experience too"

Witnessing, feeling, thinking are happening, and labelling is just happening to that too, in the same way as with the rest. But there is some resistance that comes with just seeing that and being able to just say yes. My mind goes into questioning imaginary scenarios where this might not be so, yet this isn't what's happening.
Go through the observing some more. Neither can I say honestly that's not the case. Mmm.
There's a desire to pin down be able to label exactly how witnessing happens, what is this thing I label awareness, and I can't.

Sending love, Caro

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Ilona » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:06 am

Witnessing is happening, just like that. Just like breathing, heart beating, seeing with eyes, hearing, witnessing is a process.

Have a look if there is a breather? Are you the breather?
Heart beater? Seer, hearer, witnesser? Walker? Sleeper? Eater? Observer?

Or are you looking to find some witness that is somehow hiding behind what is?
Is there awareness that is detached from the content of awareness? Or it's again, a label game, where label's are assumed to be something more then tags?

You are soo close!
Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: Caro requesting Ilona to guide

Postby Caro92 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:37 am

Thanks for you message that came just as I'd had a break from more time this morning with your previous nudges which were helpful.

Yep label games! Am I really that bothered or interested either, except as support to desire to 'see' clearly experience, which isn't proving to be much help.

I don't think just now I'm trying to find a witness behind it all. Seems more I'm trying to find reassurance I suppose, to a worry around 'determinism', that keeps cropping up.

In answer to your previous questions. Life isn't happening to me or to my body. I'm beginning to get a much richer experience of 'no separate self'. Life happening as me rather than stone has different 'happenings', responses, interactions or what ever. Stone, me, bird are not separate things though.

Life happening as all this includes feelings and emotions which therefore also must include views, imagination and stories about separate selves that don't actually exist.

You ask what the trouble is if life IS just happens.

This is where concern about determinism still pops up. I give it space, play with it. What I'm calling determinism is in the dock. Barristers are putting forward their cases as to whether this is problem or not. Jury is still getting swayed.
Worry, (just an expectation?) life as me is going to be the short straw, the runaway train that is just going to crash. I don't know what's going to happen but the associative feeling that can be around this of bleakness/ what's the point are clearly not happening as I engage in this process in dialogue with you. What I label heart wish, that I'm not controlling, manipulating happens too. Delight, not wanting suffering, like desire to see through delusion. Lots of energy too.
This worry effects seeing what is experience. Obviously I can't tell it not to arise. I suppose there is a chipping around the structure of it, happening.

Lots of love and appreciation


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