A bit worried about this process.

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decoyplankton
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A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:48 pm

I've been searching through the LU site and related links for a while now trying to make an informed decision as to weather to go ahead and give it a try or just to forget it and continue on as I am.

I'm not someone who's spent years as a “seeker”as such. It seems that many people who go through the gate seem to have spent years in one form of spiritual searching or another, but I'm not one of those people – at least not consciously - I don't think. The most I can say is I went to a Catholic school but soon became more or less a non-believer because set religions and ritual didn't do it for me. They always felt useless and more than a little embarrassing when I looked closely at them. Although I never truly stopped believing in a God of some kind, but if I'm honest, that's mostly because I'm scared to drop the concept of God completely just in case its true !! That's probably a bit of left over Catholic guilt – but there it is nevertheless.

I developed an interest in meditation some years ago and hoped it would help me view life with a bit more perspective and dispel some of my worries and fears about the future and about past events which I still carry some guilt about. It did help a bit but not completely. What eventually helped me was my own anger at myself for constantly going over old ground examining and re-examining the past, projecting future scenarios and worrying about them. I eventually said “STOP that's enough”, I refuse to think about them anymore. This attitude has helped quite a lot. I've found it easier to stop thinking about things which I can do nothing about.

This has led me to start reading about mindfulness meditation and being in the present moment. I've become very interested in this and I've listened to and read some literature on the subject. I find it fascinating but at the same time completely baffling. If I'm honest I don't quite get what presence is yet, at least not totally. I've also become familiar with the concept of non-duality – the realisation that the “I” does not exist. Of course I only get this as an intellectual concept I haven't seen through the illusion. This interest eventually led me to the LU website (can't remember how)!

At first this web site seemed like a God send. I thought I'd finally found a group of people who could help me see what being present means and help me see through the “I” illusion. But there is a problem. I'm scarred of doing it!! What will happen to the “me” that my wife and family know? Will I change my attitude to my relationships in such a way as to have a negative impact on other people? After all it seems that this is a fairly selfish pursuit – seeking liberation from a false self. I would be doing it for myself (which doesn't exist of course ?? ). Isn't the seeking of liberation something that “I” would like to do for “me” ??

What about the other things that “I” like to do? The bits of my life life that I quite enjoy. Things like keeping myself fit, creative pursuits etc. These are parts of my life that the “I” quite likes and “I” would like to keep on enjoying even after “I” don't exist !!

What about work and general getting on with the necessary parts of life that need to continue in order that there is no family upset involved if and when I see through the illusion ??

What about support afterwards. I've read that seeing through the illusion is only the start, and that afterwards there can be a period of settling in to new ways of thinking, something that most people need guidance with.

These are all the things that make me afraid to try to go forward with the process. I don't know if they are common fears or not – but they are mine. So any help or guidance on this would be great. I feel I need to go through this process with my eyes open – but I also have a nagging feeling that it's not the right way to do it !!

Thanks,

Rich.

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Sarah7
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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:30 am

Hi Rich
My name is Sarah and I would be happy to guide you.

Just so that I know about any time differences, whereabouts do you live? I’m in England.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start:

Please 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, and 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 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 then we'll begin.

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.

Look forward to working with you.
Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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decoyplankton
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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:04 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thank you very much for agreeing to help me.
I've watched the video and agree to the disclaimer - no problem there.

I also live in England so no problem with time difference. I tend to be able to post around late evening most days , but maybe during the day at the weekends.

I'll try to post at least once a day as you requested. However it's a busy time of year at the moment with holidays etc so it may not always be possible for me to post every day. I'll let you know when I think this may be a problem...

Hope you had a chance to read through my worries, I'm sorry if they're a bit rambling and unfocused. I do have genuine concerns about how this will effect me. But anyway I'm willing to give it a go ..

Thanks

Rich

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:03 am

Hi Rich
Hope you had a chance to read through my worries, I'm sorry if they're a bit rambling and unfocused. I do have genuine concerns about how this will effect me. But anyway I'm willing to give it a go ..
Holidays first! – also here too - Ill give the dates later in a pm. OK.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find. If you've already answered some of these, 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 – I mean generally - I know you said you weren't a seeker as such?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you and is this where the fear may lay?
Although I never truly stopped believing in a God of some kind, but if I'm honest, that's mostly because I'm scared to drop the concept of God completely just in case its true !! That's probably a bit of left over Catholic guilt – but there it is nevertheless.
Thank you for this. We will actually not be looking at this! We do not convince or expect. There is only looking and noticing. Hope that is OK?
Lots of Love Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:21 am

What are your expectations for this process?
I can only say what I've read has happened to other people who have completed the process ... because If you'd asked me that question without any prior knowledge of what happens "on the other side" I would have to say I have absolutely no idea !!
So going by what I've read, I hope to be able to recognise thought arising and be aware enough to recognise that they are only thoughts, and that they are not the truth - but just a memory of the past or a projection of the future. At the moment, when thought arises, I have a tendency to buy into it immediately and they usually result in a change in emotion / feelings. Sometimes I catch myself doing this and am able to stop becoming engulfed in something that is not real. It would be great to have a choice !!
What is it that you are searching for – I mean generally - I know you said you weren't a seeker as such?
In common with many people i suppose - I've always thought that something is missing. That I'm not complete in some way. This hasn't lead to a life long commitment to some kind of religion or belief and I can't account for why that might be. It seems that most people who feel that way have tried to find out why ... I have just always been aware of something being missing but never been brave enough to hunt down what it might be.
How will you know that you found it?
Based on the last answer, I wont know when I've found it, because I'm not that sure what I'm looking for!! It may be that I'll find something and be happy to settle with it. Or I may be inspired to continue on to discover more if I find that there is actually more to discover. Does that sound daft ??
How will this feel?
It will either feel like the start, or the end !!
Not quite sure what you mean here, do you mean how will it feel as a new way of being i.e the new me, or how will it feel as - am I satisfied or not with the result of waking up ? The only true answer here is "I don't know" .
How will this change you and is this where the fear may lay?
This is exactly the basis of all my fears. I have no idea how this might change me. My great fear is that I will change in such a way as to have a negative impact on the people around me. The very last thing I want to do is to impact badly on the people I love because I want to pursue some personal spiritual goal at all costs - that this might take over and push them away. I would seriously rather stare the answer in the face and then turn away from it, rather than hurt anyone around me !!

Rich.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:05 am

Hi Rich
If fear comes up please let me know and we can look at that in a bit more detail. So we are going to start off nice and gentle. OK.

Lets have a look at labelling and how we label – try this exercise:

Id like you to just sit for 10 minutes with a paper and pen and I want you to record everything you notice from your ‘I’ list. I want you too look at what experiences come up, what actions you notice, what labels you see and WHERE they are applied, what feelings and emotions come up, and what sensations arise.

Don’t add to what shows itself, don’t analyse, just plain description. Watch the body for any sensations like relaxing or tightening. Just write me a list like - I am lying in bed, I am hearing the rain, I am writing this list, I can feel a sensation of relaxing etc….

Id like you then to repeat the exercise doing exactly the same as you did above, but this time I don’t want you to use the word ‘I’ or ‘me’ when you write the list of what you notice. Again don’t add to what shows itself, don’t analyse, just plain description. Watch the body for any sensations like relaxing or tightening. Just write me a list like - waiting for the next thought, writing, breathing, listening, relaxing sensation etc…
What do you notice from doing the two looking exercises? Which feels truer?

Can you look without labelling?
Lots of Love Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:47 pm

Hi Sarah, thanks for the exercise, I did this last night .... Here's the "I" List first ...

I'm lying down
I can feel the pen in my hand
I can feel the coolness of the paper against my hand
I can hear a slight ringing in my ears.
I can hear the sound of farm traffic in the field harvesting wheat.
I think of the rotating machinery on the harvester.
I think of the dust.
I feel tired.
My eyes sting when I blink.
I can hear a car passing.
I see shadows from the bedside lamp.
I feel a faint aliveness in my body, especially legs and chest.
I can feel shallow cool breathing through my nose.
I can feel my heartbeat.
I feel quite relaxed.
My body has a slight tingling sensation.

And now here's the next list without I or me ..

Feel of the pen.
Touch of the paper.
Sound from a passing car.
Cool air from the window.
Light falling on the bed.
Background noises.
Feel of the mattress against my body.
Sensation of the room surrounding me.
Pulse of my heartbeat.
seeing the contrasting shadows.
looking at the doors.
thoughts about the list.
Thinking about work tomorrow.
A spider in the corner - needs to go.
Sounds from TV downstairs.
Mind seems fairly quiet.
What do you notice from doing the two looking exercises? Which feels truer?
The first exercise felt harder in that I seemed to have to come up with an idea of what I was experiencing and then construct a sentence to describe it. There was more analysis with the first exercise.

The second exercise felt simpler and the experiences were easier to just record and move on. So that definately felt more real. My mind did seem quiet during both exercises as I think I was tired and random thoughts were not popping up as often as they usually do.
Can you look without labelling?
Yes I think I can do that, but it takes a bit of concerntration to avoid labelling everything as it comes into consciousness. If that doesn't sound like a contradiction in terms.
When I try not to label things it feels like I'm trying to block something out that is itching to get through. A bit like being in a room and trying not to look at the TV picture, or looking at a word and trying not to read it.

Hope to hear from you soon

Rich.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:49 pm

Hi Rich
So as you look now how do you experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’, 'how’ you experience ‘you’. When answering look rather than thinking. OK.

For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?

Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?

Where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?
Lots of Love Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:27 pm

Sarah,
how do you experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’, 'how’ you experience ‘you’.
I have tried to LOOK at this rather than think it. It's a difficult thing for me to do because I have an analytic mind. I'm a technical sort of person rather than an inward thinker (or looker).

The sensation of me seems to be centered in my head. That's where the constant commentary on everything that is happening seems to reside. It is a collection of thoughts which include memories, and stories of what might happen in the future. These thoughts can invoke powerful emotions including anger, sadness, resentment, laughter, fantasy etc.

But I can see at the same time that these are just thoughts. I am trying to just find what is 'me' among them without the running commentary. It's quite difficult. When emotions run high, I lose the perspective and am engulfed in the thoughts - they become me!

I will keep trying to nail down where I think 'I' reside, but at the minute, I can't quite see where it is. When you say look and not think, I'm not sure how to actually do that ?
does this self decide, chose, act, do and control
I have looked at this also and the answer is 'yes', sometimes. When a situation calls for thinking through a problem and acting on the outcome of those thoughts, then I have to say that it feels like there is an 'I' in control of that.

However I have also noticed that many actions seem to occur without thought - or thought comes after action. I.e my nose itches so I scratch it. These non thought actions seem to be concerned with the more trivial parts of life. The mentally demanding stuff definitely seems to be driven from some 'being' within which I would refer to as me.

I haven't quite got this yet have I ? So I will keep on trying to look .. This may be an ongoing thing ... sorry .

Rich.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:53 am

Hi Rich
Apologies for not putting this here sooner – looking means paying attention to sensation – touch, hearing etc. It is noticing whether thinking is happening rather than following the content. It is noticing feeling e.g. noticing a tightness somewhere or a feeling of lightness. It means taking note of whether labelling is happening and whether emotions are present. We call it Direct Experience (DE for short). Its all about paying attention to what is happening NOW. Does that help?

So have a little look – maybe somewhere quiet and see if you can locate where ‘you’ are.
The sensation of me seems to be centered in my head. That's where the constant commentary on everything that is happening seems to reside. It is a collection of thoughts which include memories, and stories of what might happen in the future. These thoughts can invoke powerful emotions including anger, sadness, resentment, laughter, fantasy etc.
So thoughts and emotions? Anything else? Does it feel as if the thought brings the emotion? Or the other way round?
I have looked at this also and the answer is 'yes', sometimes. When a situation calls for thinking through a problem and acting on the outcome of those thoughts, then I have to say that it feels like there is an 'I' in control of that.
OK – lets look. Next time a decision has to be made – see if you can watch it like a cat watches a mouse hole! Do ‘you’ decide what is thought before the thought? In other words do you directly experience thinking about what you are going to think. Dont worry if you miss it! Just have a look when remembering happens. OK.
However I have also noticed that many actions seem to occur without thought - or thought comes after action. I.e my nose itches so I scratch it. These non thought actions seem to be concerned with the more trivial parts of life.
Fantastic! We call this autopilot! Like when you are driving – thoughts may well be somewhere else but we still arrive at our destination not always knowing how we got there! How about walking? Is that controlled by you? Have a look through your day at all the autopilot doings - see how many you notice!
The mentally demanding stuff definitely seems to be driven from some 'being' within which I would refer to as me.

So thoughts and thinking are you? Decisions, choice etc - yes? OK lets have a little look at that too. Next time choice is needed - e.g. coffee versus tea - watch the process again as close as possible. See if you can spot that 'I' choosing.
I haven't quite got this yet have I ? So I will keep on trying to look .. This may be an ongoing thing ... sorry .
Nothing to apologize for here Rich – lovely start!
Big hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:54 am

Hi Sarah

You've given me plenty to look at here. Im going to take a bit of time to check it all out, so I may not post again until Saturday if thats ok.
Thanks ,Rich

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:11 am

That's fine Rich. Please let me know if I give you too much! Im off on another little holiday from Saturday till Tuesday - but again am taking iPad. OK!
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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decoyplankton
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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:59 pm

Hi Sarah,
Apologies for not posting for a couple of days. It's taken a while to think about what you have asked me to investigate - and there have been plenty of other things going on at home too!

Anyway, I have tried to 'look' as you described and have found it a tricky thing to sustain as I keep getting drawn in by thoughts. However I have had some success - but I pretty much need to be somewhere quiet by myself to be able to 'look' properly.
So thoughts and emotions? Anything else? Does it feel as if the thought brings the emotion? Or the other way round?


It feels at the moment as though the thought brings the emotion. For example I can think about my holiday coming up and it makes me smile. Or I can remember a problem at work that could have been avoided by better planning, and it makes me feel angry and frustrated. Sometimes though I can wake up in the morning and feel anxious or a bit down and not be able to find a reason for it - an emotion without a thought ?
Have a look through your day at all the autopilot doings - see how many you notice!


Quite a lot!! In fact its got to be a large percentage of everything that I do in a day otherwise I just wouldn't be able to do the things I do. Eg driving, like you said (especially on familiar routes) , eating, drinking, walking, etc ..
It feels like my body just gets on with the mundane stuff, while carrying my head around which does all the other thinking !!
Next time choice is needed - e.g. coffee versus tea - watch the process again as close as possible. See if you can spot that 'I' choosing.
I can't spot any 'I' choosing, at least not directly. But if I am faced with a choice between two things, lets take your example of coffee and tea. It feels like - bizarrely - that the decision first uses memory to remember the taste of each drink and then imagination to test each in turn and try to feel what each would be like in the present moment. A decision is then arrived at but I can't be sure that that's me deciding, or just what fits the moment. Does that sound weird ?
Next time a decision has to be made – see if you can watch it like a cat watches a mouse hole! Do ‘you’ decide what is thought before the thought? In other words do you directly experience thinking about what you are going to think.
I haven't managed to be there enough to truly watch a decision happening yet, but I can say that your description of perhaps having a thought to decide to have a though sounded so mad that it just cannot be true. Otherwise my mind would be locked in a never ending train of thoughts about thoughts in a sort of eternal feedback loop. So I do accept your point in an intellectual way, but I'm afraid I still need to work on the D.E of that .

I'm going to keep looking to see who is making the decisions - but its sort of hard to catch myself in that process.

Thanks

Rich

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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:35 pm

Hi Rich
Some really good noticing going on here! I can't quote yet on this iPad! Sorry!

It feels at the moment as though the thought brings the emotion. For example I can think about my holiday coming up and it makes me smile. Or I can remember a problem at work that could have been avoided by better planning, and it makes me feel angry and frustrated. Sometimes though I can wake up in the morning and feel anxious or a bit down and not be able to find a reason for it - an emotion without a thought ?

OK a little test. Think yourself to be happy - right now. Do it! Make it happen! Does it? Try it with any emotion you like - can it made to happen from thought.

Quite a lot!! In fact its got to be a large percentage of everything that I do in a day otherwise I just wouldn't be able to do the things I do. Eg driving, like you said (especially on familiar routes) , eating, drinking, walking, etc ..
It feels like my body just gets on with the mundane stuff, while carrying my head around which does all the other thinking !!

Fantastic! Now where do thoughts come from? Do you make them come and go? can you make thinking happen?

I can't spot any 'I' choosing, at least not directly. But if I am faced with a choice between two things, lets take your example of coffee and tea. It feels like - bizarrely - that the decision first uses memory to remember the taste of each drink and then imagination to test each in turn and try to feel what each would be like in the present moment. A decision is then arrived at but I can't be sure that that's me deciding, or just what fits the moment. Does that sound weird ?

No not weird at all! Fantastic noticing! Keep looking at decisions and choices. See if you can find a you making that decision or choice.

I haven't managed to be there enough to truly watch a decision happening yet, but I can say that your description of perhaps having a thought to decide to have a though sounded so mad that it just cannot be true. Otherwise my mind would be locked in a never ending train of thoughts about thoughts in a sort of eternal feedback loop. So I do accept your point in an intellectual way, but I'm afraid I still need to work on the D.E of that .

OK keep at this too. See if you can catch you deciding what to think before it is thought!
Lots of love Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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decoyplankton
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Re: A bit worried about this process.

Postby decoyplankton » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:23 pm

Hi Sarah
I'm going to take another day to re examine some of the things you've said. Hope this is Ok. Will be back tomorrow.
Thanks Rich.


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