in need of a guide

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davidr
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in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:03 pm

Hi

My name is david, I am 68y old and live in the Noth West of England. I have read all the books, have a conceptual understanding of "no self" and have the tea shirt. But I have not made the leap to a gut realisation.
I would be eternally grateful for any help in making this step.

Many thanks

David

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moondog
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:52 am

Hi David and welcome,

My name's Pete and I live in Somerset, so no problems with time zones.

There are a few things that we need to go over so that I know the best way for us to continue.

Please tell me your story in some detail, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for.

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

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davidr
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:25 am

Hi Pete, many thanks for your kind offer of time and guidance. I will try and put something together and post it tommorrow.

Regards
David

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moondog
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:11 am

Hi David,

Thanks for getting back to me. There's no need to go into a lot of detail. Looking forward to hearing from you tomorrow and then we'll get started.

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

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davidr
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:56 pm

Hi Pete
Hopefilly I have answered your questions below. Please forgive spellings, grammer and the like, not my strong point. Look forward to receiving your comments
I began the search in my late teens. There was the feeling that there is a deeper layer of life that was not been seen in my 'normal' living. I began reading books (no Internet in those days) and skimmed through most of the major religions and philosophical ideas. After a few years of this I came across the works of Sri Ramana, here I felt a resonance and new that this guy has got it! There was some understanding of what he was pointing too but only vaguely Intuitive. I completely misunderstood his instruction on self inquiry and began going round asking (in my head) 'who am I' . Nothing happened and the inquiry peetered out.
Then followed a long period devoted to job and family life ( Clinical Biochemist, wife , two children, dog and cat). During this time I was still reading which had now extended the search into psychology' particularly Carl Jung. Came across Douglas Harding book 'on having no head' tried his experiments, which did evoke a funny feeling, but left it at that. Also became an active member of a local Church of England Church for a number of years but eventually felt little or no spiritual content and left.
Approximately fifteen years ago stumbled into Chan Buddhism which like my previous encounter with the works of Sri Ramana produced a resonance.For the last ten years I have been practicing Buddhism within the Soto zen tradition. This has helped greatly but still plagued with dragging round this ego self.
Recently have come across a new wave of western interpretations of Adviata Vendata (for me the most useful being Scott Kiloby, Greg Goode and Rupeert Spira ) which has brought me back to my starting point but has allowed a greater understanding of Sri Ramana's pointing.
My present studies include the emptiness teachings, the works of Master Dogan and various non-duality works.
My head is stuffed full with all this stuff and though I love it, I lack (or mistakenly lack a gut realization of what it all means, though conceptually I have a fair idea.
You asked how I came upon the website. About twelve month ago I was visiting Liverpool and had a wander into the central library, their I came upon a book the title of which I have forgotten, but it gave a reference to Ilona Ciunaite. A quick Internet search found the website. This I found interesting and delved into its resources and read through a number of postings. I also bought Ilona's book 'Gateless Gatecrashes' which was very useful. I decided to give it a go when the time seemed right.
So what do I want from this, well to suffer less would be good but I guess the bottom line is to have the gut certainty that this is it and be able to let the intellectual search drop away- no pressure!

Kind regards
David

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moondog
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:33 pm

Hi David,

Thank you so much for letting me know about your background, and how you've arrived at this point. I'd be very happy to guide you through so that you can clearly see for yourself that there is no separate self entity.

There are a few things that we need to go over before the journey begins.

There are 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 the article at 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. I know you've already answered some of these, but please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

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.

And 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.

Kind regards,

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

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davidr
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:45 am

Hi Pete
Many, many thanks for agreeing to guide me through this. I have read the sections you have suggested, watched the intraductionary video and accept the disclaimer. I will try my best to fulfill the conditions you state.

Here are my answers to the points you have asked:


What are your expectations for this process?
To see clearly and feel deeply that this being David is not a separate, self contained person.

What is it that you are searching for?
The truth, certainty that will allow the above to happen.

How will you know that you found it?
The need to carry on searching will drop away.

How will this feel?
I guess it will be a felt realization.

How will this change you?
I would hope for the better, more tolerant, compassionate and at peace.

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moondog
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:39 pm

Hi David,
Many, many thanks for agreeing to guide me through this. I have read the sections you have suggested, watched the intraductionary video and accept the disclaimer. I will try my best to fulfill the conditions you state.
That's great, and thanks for sharing your expectations and understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. As far as expectations go, they don't seem unrealistic which is good. 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.

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.

So, 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 - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


Pete

Ps.To make your replies as clear as possible and to help me guide you, please use the quote function. To do that, simply highlight the relevant sentence(s)/paragraph(s) that you're replying to in my previous post and press 'copy', then press the 'Quote ' button in the bar above the section you're typing in, then place the cursor in the centre of the two bracketed quote words and then press "paste". That should do it.
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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davidr
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:56 pm

Hi Peter

Thanks again for your commitmant and time taken to guide me. I will ponder your questions overnigh and also try to get to grips with the quote function.

One question
When you saw through the illusion of an apparant real self, was there any change to your day to day ego activity e.g. did you still talk to yourself in your head?

Kind regards
David

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moondog
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Thu May 01, 2014 9:47 am

Hi David,
One question
When you saw through the illusion of an apparant real self, was there any change to your day to day ego activity e.g. did you still talk to yourself in your head?
Given what I've said about expectations and their propensity to warp out this process of investigation if they are taken as more than just thoughts and fixated upon, I don't really want to be very detailed or specific about my own experience here as that might well just add to the potential for this to happen. Suffice it to say at this early stage that 'the talking to yourself in your head' you mention is just thoughts. Thoughts just happen, just arise and, as you'll clearly see as we move through this process of looking into direct experience, there's no self entity producing these thoughts. After seeing for certain that there is no separate self, and never has been, it is recognised that thoughts are, like anything else, impersonal arisings and so their ability to seduce one into believing in all manner of self-centred ideas that lead to suffering is removed, leading to a freer more open perspective on life. However, this process, involving a falling away of ideas and beliefs as they are seen to be untrue, really only starts when it's clearly seen in direct experience that there is no separate self and naturally, it takes a while for all of this to happen. How long varies considerably from person to person. So, yes, thoughts do continue to arise, perhaps at a reduced rate, but they are recognised for what they are.

I hope this is helpful David, and I look forward to your replies to my previous post.

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

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davidr
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Thu May 01, 2014 4:50 pm

Hi Peter

Many thanks for your reply to my question, I do take onboard your comments regarding expectations.
Apologies for any technical errors but having some problems with my kindle will hopefully sort things out.


In answer to your questions

Nothing exists outside the present moment.
Sitting here in this room at this moment looking only at present experience,the feeling is that this is all there is. Thoughts and memories that may arise are arising also in this moment so they too are existent only in this moment.
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
I can find nothing outside of this moment.


How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
My conception of myself, me, I appears to be a center around which is based a collection comprising this physical body with its brain and sensory apparatus and a inner mental life of thoughts, memories and feelings. This center (me) also appears to poses awareness which makes all else apparent. It also seems/feels like an inner witness somewhere at the back of the mind which looks on, gives judgment and makes decisions.
The reason I asked you the question yesterday as to wether you still talked to yourself in your head after realization of no self, was because for me this is one of the biggest knots that keep the feeling of a separate self alive and well, this inner dialogue fuels the belief/feeling a separate self .
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
Looking up from my keyboard and glancing around the room I can find
no place where this me could reside but there is still the feeling of this witness to which is attached the subtle feeling of 'me'.


Thanks again
kind regards
David
ps Is there a time of day that you prefare me to make my posts by?

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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Fri May 02, 2014 3:41 pm

Hi David,
Sitting here in this room at this moment looking only at present experience,the feeling is that this is all there is. Thoughts and memories that may arise are arising also in this moment so they too are existent only in this moment. I can find nothing outside of this moment.
That's it, there's just this, here, now. Good observing.

You say the feeling is that this is all there is. And that's true, but it's not just a feeling is it, because what you directly experience through your senses is more than that isn't it. It's what is actually happening right now, rather than something thought, imagined or felt isn't it?
My conception of myself, me, I appears to be a center around which is based a collection comprising this physical body with its brain and sensory apparatus and a inner mental life of thoughts, memories and feelings. This center (me) also appears to poses awareness which makes all else apparent. It also seems/feels like an inner witness somewhere at the back of the mind which looks on, gives judgment and makes decisions.
Your description of your conception of you, your self, is much like most of us believe ourselves to be, before we actually look at direct experience to see whether that's really true. It's that voice that talks to you in your head, your unquestioned, unexamined thoughts, that tell you that you're separate from the world out there, with all the problems and suffering that this can bring. My job as your guide during this enquiry will be simply to point out to you where and how to look in direct experience so that you can see for sure for yourself whether there's a separate self-entity anywhere doing or being anything

I like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within each and every area within experience where a separate self might be found.

As I'm sure you'll have seen, the initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience, which is, as I say, where I'll be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is 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 kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post, and you might want to have another look at that.

As I keep saying, 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.

So anyway, let's start at last investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:

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.


Pete

Ps it's fine of course for you to reply whenever you like, but I tend to post out every day in mid-afternoon, if that helps at all.
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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davidr
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby davidr » Sat May 03, 2014 7:55 am

HI Pete
Many thanks for your comments. Before I answer your questions can I make an observation. You said
You say the feeling is that this is all there is. And that's true, but it's not just a feeling is it, because what you directly experience through your senses is more than that isn't it. It's what is actually happening right now, rather than something thought, imagined or felt isn't it?
I think you have touched on one of my problems i.e. living too much in the head and overvaluing thoughts and feelings that arise their, rather than seeing them alongside all sense data that is present in the moment. I will work with this one.

So anyway, let's start at last investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:
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?
As I look out of the window into the garden there is only the seeing and an awareness of the seeing. No self can be found apart from this awareness of the seeing- the witness.

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
No, I can find no boundaries between what is seen and this witnessing awareness, it just seems like one homogeneous seeing

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
The same observations with hearing, tasting and smelling. Tactile feelings were a little different in that there seemed to be of two components, e.g.when holding a warm cup of tea there was the sensation of the warm cup and also of the fingers holding the cup. But essentially in respect of a self, the same as the other senses.


Best wishes

David

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moondog
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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Sat May 03, 2014 3:14 pm

Hi David,
I think you have touched on one of my problems i.e. living too much in the head and overvaluing thoughts and feelings that arise their, rather than seeing them alongside all sense data that is present in the moment. I will work with this one.
No worries, what you describe isn't at all unusual. In fact it's probably the main apparent problem for many people. But only by looking at direct experience can the self be seen to be merely a construct of thought, and thought itself then becomes less and less powerful and seductive. This will become increasingly obvious to you as we proceed through this enquiry. Thoughts won't just stop but, when self-entity is seen to be a false belief, they'll becomes less and less 'sticky'. But trying to figure out the problem by thinking it through will just never work, as thinking and the belief that what thoughts say is either true or real is the problem. The only way to do this is by looking at your direct experience.
As I look out of the window into the garden there is only the seeing and an awareness of the seeing. No self can be found apart from this awareness of the seeing- the witness.
I can find no boundaries between what is seen and this witnessing awareness, it just seems like one homogeneous seeing
Brilliant. That's great that 'you' are aware only of seeing, with no 'you' seeing and no separate, external, seen object.

Just to be even clearer, you say there is only the seeing and an awareness of the seeing but, in direct experience, are seeing and the awareness of seeing experienced to be separate or in any way distinguishable? Isn't it the case that seeing is awareness and when seeing that's really all there is?
The same observations with hearing, tasting and smelling. Tactile feelings were a little different in that there seemed to be of two components, e.g.when holding a warm cup of tea there was the sensation of the warm cup and also of the fingers holding the cup. But essentially in respect of a self, the same as the other senses.
Excellent. I know from previous guiding, and from my own experience, that in the sort of situation you describe where a warm cup is being held, some people appear to experience two experiential components, whilst others (myself included) just experience one. Both are equally valid of course, the main point being that no separate self can be found. There's just touching/feeling.

So great so far, let's move on to an aspect of experience that we've touched on already, thoughts and thinking.

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Pete
Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: in need of a guide

Postby moondog » Sat May 03, 2014 3:16 pm

Sorry David, my name got squidged up into the middle of the last bit :)

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


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