Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

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yuvi
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Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:09 pm

Hello People,

As a requirement by forum, I am introducing myself and writing in brief my experience of seeing the self-illusion.
My understanding of enlightenment: I’ve realized that self is an illusion (I will come to the details of this realization in the next paragraph), but not sure if a state of permanent ‘pure seeing’ is possible when you live a normal everyday life – planning and executing tasks, interacting with people, following certain rules and social conventions, experiencing new circumstances and events etc. That being said, once you saw this illusion of ‘self’, you will never identify with thoughts (though momentarily) that takes the shape of feel-image-talk in the screen of consciousness.

Who I was before this realization:
In short, I am an academic success and never saw failure. I was in top 5 ranks in high school, graduated from dental college and then a research academy, and working for a decent pay in a pharma company. How I was able to accomplish this decent honest life – through constant struggle between ‘me’ and ‘my mind.’ From school to college, and until a year back, whenever there was a requirement for me to succeed – be it my exams or completing an important task that determines my career- some sort of an unexpected and illogical thought comes to my mind. These thoughts exist till that exam/task gets over. After that, I am a completely normal with no depressing thoughts or signs of negativity. 5 years passed by which also included me popping in fluoxetine and propanalol for few months. This was like a cycle, where I am normal enjoying life and suddenly a situation where I need to succeed, these thoughts come and I start fighting to control it. This ultimately accentuates the physiological manifestations of anxiety and becomes a real impediment to my accomplishment. I always believed that this will pass, to only experience it in a different situation.

Now about my experience:
I met my wife, girlfriend then, in 2013. When I thought everything was going fine, this old habit of mine - illogical thoughts that are interested to fight with me - crept in and crippled me affecting my relationship. This time though, I didn’t act and let my thoughts drive me. Instead, I fought hard against my mind to ensure I stay smiling and happy to my partner so I don’t hurt her. I knew this will not help me in long run and started to read books and practice meditation. I read Eckhart Tolle, Osho, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Sam harris etc. Nothing seem to benefit though I was able to understand what they talked about. One day, with 1 hour of struggle between me and my mind, I was driving my car in the night near my house. Suddenly, something happened! I saw everything in front of me (I remember those moments exactly) as if I am seeing it for the first time. A wondrous feeling of Who am I, what is this place, what is going on: be careful, because these were no questions in thoughts, but experience – like the world in front of me was new, fresh and as never seen before. For 15-20 minutes I was in awe. Then went home, ‘self’ took control, ‘I’ was confused of what happened, and went to sleep. Few months passed by, with similar occurrences several times a day - a feeling of ‘awe’ while watching people walking, eating etc. as I am seeing humans for first time. I see sun rise, moon, sky, birds etc like I am seeing for first time. This feeling doesn’t last and I go back to normal life. I had no idea what this was then. 3-4 months back, i walked down the corridor of my house observe my thoughts non-judgmentally and ringed the door bell. My wife opened the door (yes, this time I was married to my girlfriend). Suddenly, I experienced ‘pure seeing’, much more vivid this time. I lost the center of this seeing. No seer behind the seeing. I realized that this experience was what many contemporaries and mystics were taking about. I have had atleast 20-30 such experience in these 3-4 months. Since then, I realized I was living in illusion all my 29 years.

How I feel now:
I am a science professional and a skeptic of religion and other dogmatic preaching. So naturally, I don’t believe in any supernatural claims about any experience unless I experience that myself. Thoughts, negative emotions etc come and go. My center is unaffected; I always know ‘I’ am not there in the middle of these. This illusion is a brain construct that begins at 3-4 years, so it is nothing supernatural. But brain has memories, thoughts shapes our brain which is extremely plastic. Habits are formed by repetition because of strengthening of synaptic junctions of neurons. So, when someone sees the illusion of self, it doesn’t mean they won’t look when a beautiful girl passes by, or their taste buds won’t tickle seeing a delicious food. However, it becomes easy to study your own self, your quirks and smoothen them. This can’t be accomplished when u identify yourself with your thoughts. From full-time non-vegetarian, I became a complete vegetarian overnight (not kidding). That is the transformation I am talking about. This transformation that comes from the realization lets us live peacefully without being taken away by thoughts.

Thank you.

Note: I can offer tips to others to experience what I experienced. I may be wrong or never can be of any help on this front, but I am willing to try a shot. May be, I do not know if there is more to unfold and I am at the beginner stage of traditional enlightenment. But I don’t care and don’t pursue. This moment is what that matters.
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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Armstrong
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:55 am

Yuvi,

Thanks for your post!

I'd be happy to be your guide. I will followup ASAP with a more complete response - but I saw you'd been waiting a while and didn't have a guide, so I thought I should post and get things started.

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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:21 am

Yuvi,

Hello and welcome! Reading your post, it sounds like you've come to the right place.

My role here is to lead you through some direct pointing exercises. It serves a few functions: when we're done you'll know you've seen it, the other guides will know it and I'll get some (hopefully easy) experience guiding.

Although I was confident I'd seen it before I got my guide, it turned out that I hadn't seen everything, so I was grateful for the care and attention.

If you are ready to start:

1) please confirm that you've read the disclaimer located here http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

2) please confirm that you are OK having me be your guide.

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yuvi
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:08 pm

Hello Armstrong, thanks for your post. Sure, I agree to the requirements stated. I am interested to understand if my experience of pure seeing has more to unfold. Always willing to learn and I hope ur inputs will help me further sustain this experience
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:06 pm

Excellent. Here's the typical "contract guidelines".

Two points:

Can you please take a look at these and give me your assessment of whether or not they work for you?

Also, do you have any requests? I'd like to make this as easy and fun for you as possible.

1) You agree to post at least once a day. If you are busy, just a "still here" let's us know you are still there.

2) You'll answer questions honestly, based on your senses, not your thinking. Please avoid personal details in your responses. I won't ask personal questions.

3) Let's try to keep things short, eschewing long answers, analytical answers, wordy answers. It is easier for you, for me and for the others that will read this. We'll get much better feedback from other guides if there's less words for them to wade through when we're done.

4) Please don't worry that we'll miss things due to #3. If things are ambiguous or I'm curious, I'll ask more questions.

5) You agree to put aside your nonduality teachings, meditation teaching and philosophies until we finish - eg videos, articles and books. The point isn't to starve you of intellectual food; ramping up the thinking - which seems to be what consuming media does - doesn't help us to talk about it in a fresh way. Do your daily meditation practice.

6) Please look at this and use the quote function. It will make it easier on me and the other guides: http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

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yuvi
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:42 am

Hello Again,

Please find below my responses:
1) You agree to post at least once a day. If you are busy, just a "still here" let's us know you are still there.
Agreed. I will ensure no one waits for me and keep my log ins everyday. Occasionally, i may be travel during which I will inform the duration of unavailability.
2) You'll answer questions honestly, based on your senses, not your thinking. Please avoid personal details in your responses. I won't ask personal questions.
Agreed
3) Let's try to keep things short, eschewing long answers, analytical answers, wordy answers. It is easier for you, for me and for the others that will read this. We'll get much better feedback from other guides if there's less words for them to wade through when we're done.
Agreed
4) Please don't worry that we'll miss things due to #3. If things are ambiguous or I'm curious, I'll ask more questions.

Agreed
5) You agree to put aside your nonduality teachings, meditation teaching and philosophies until we finish - eg videos, articles and books. The point isn't to starve you of intellectual food; ramping up the thinking - which seems to be what consuming media does - doesn't help us to talk about it in a fresh way. Do your daily meditation practice.
Agreed. I am not sure of "Do your daily meditation practice" as I do not do any conventional meditation or fix any routine in my daily life. I however 'self enquire' almost every minute of the day
Also, do you have any requests? I'd like to make this as easy and fun for you as possible.
THough i experienced pure seeing for few moments, I am unable to sustain (if that is possible) in everyday life. My awareness has profoundly increased and every thought is just witnessed (all image-talk-feel in consciousness) every minute. So I would like to know, if we can experience non-duality at will, and sustain that in normal life. If yes, how can we approach this mind play and see through it.
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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Armstrong
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:58 am

Great so far.

You wrote:
THough i experienced pure seeing for few moments, I am unable to sustain (if that is possible) in everyday life. My awareness has profoundly increased and every thought is just witnessed (all image-talk-feel in consciousness) every minute. So I would like to know, if we can experience non-duality at will, and sustain that in normal life. If yes, how can we approach this mind play and see through it.
Thanks for making that clear. I'll do what I can to help you answer your question.

I need to come up with some exercises for you. That's probably going to take me a few hours.

I hope you subscribed to this thread. If you do, you'll get an email when the thread updates.

My time is such now that I can probably reply more than once a day. It is up to you to reply on your own schedule - at a minimum, please just stick to the agreement.

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Armstrong
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:52 am

Exercise

Please close your eyes and listen very carefully for a minute.
Repeat the listening if necessary and try to answer the questions below.

When hearing, do you do the hearing? Is there a hearer?
Do you hear an object? Do you perceive an object making sound?
Where does hearing happen?

Imagine that you need to tell someone about what you heard. You might think something like, "I heard a big noise" -- a thought with an "I". What does "I" refer to?

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yuvi
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:15 am

Please close your eyes and listen very carefully for a minute.
Repeat the listening if necessary and try to answer the questions below.

When hearing, do you do the hearing? Is there a hearer?
Do you hear an object? Do you perceive an object making sound?
Where does hearing happen?
Imagine that you need to tell someone about what you heard. You might think something like, "I heard a big noise" -- a thought with an "I". What does "I" refer to?
Hi, thanks for your time. I did what you said. For few seconds, there was a hearer and 'i' perceived distant objects making sounds (child crying, cooker whistling, people laughing etc.). Few seconds in silence with closed eyes, the sounds were heard in consciousness, not separate from the object. But, the subject 'i' was hazy and present.
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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Armstrong
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:05 pm

For few seconds, there was a hearer and 'i' perceived distant objects making sounds (child crying, cooker whistling, people laughing etc.). Few seconds in silence with closed eyes, the sounds were heard in consciousness, not separate from the object. But, the subject 'i' was hazy and present.
The whole point of our interactions is to get you to pay enough concentrated attention to your direct experience, which leads to you noticing things. Another way of saying this is that mindfulness (attention) and concentration (quantity of attention) lead to insight. Without the mindfulness and concentration, you won't get the insight.

In order to save you time, before you do the exercises, please allocate a few seconds to take three slow breaths, paying meticulous attention to them. Do them wherever you are, eyes open - busy space, quiet space, work, home, etc. - just pay as close attention as you can.

When breathing, try to notice the following things:

1) physical sensations (air in airway, body rising/falling)

2) positive feeling of breathing in and relaxation when breathing out. If you breathe in slowly enough, it should actually feel good to breathe in. If you let go when you breathe out and pay attention, you should feel relaxation in your whole body.

Please take three deep breaths as described above, close your eyes and listen. Then try to answer these questions:

1) If you focus on hearing, does the sound come with labels like "child" or "cooker"?

2) In a busier environment, if you listen long enough, do the labels change? As in "Elise coughing" and then "Manfred coughing"? What sense is that that is changing - hearing, seeing, etc. Something is changing - what is it?

3) You reported a changing sense of 'i'. Sometimes no 'i', with just hearing in awareness. With what senses do you perceive it? What is the foreground and what is the background? What is associated with it waxing/waning?

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yuvi
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:12 pm

HI Armstrong,

I did this practice for 15 minutes. This is the first time i did vipassana properly.. the introspection was quite amazing.
1) If you focus on hearing, does the sound come with labels like "child" or "cooker"?
Initially the label comes as "child" or "cooker". It starts as sound heard externally. within few minutes, the voices and sound were in my consciousness. however, this experience of sound in awareness intermingles between thought that makes sounds coming from outside. when trying to look for this thought, it disappears.

2) In a busier environment, if you listen long enough, do the labels change? As in "Elise coughing" and then "Manfred coughing"? What sense is that that is changing - hearing, seeing, etc. Something is changing - what is it?
i am yet to practice this exercise. i will definitely do it and get back to you.

3) You reported a changing sense of 'i'. Sometimes no 'i', with just hearing in awareness. With what senses do you perceive it? What is the foreground and what is the background? What is associated with it waxing/waning?
I am unable to explain it. there is this witness behind that which i am not sure how to explain. the feeling of 'self' is also observed by this witness. i tried to focus on this witness. this witness that sees thoughts and the thought of I remains. not sure how to explain.
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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Armstrong
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:09 pm

Yuvi, please use the quote function with more care #2 and #3 weren't quoted, which makes it tough for others to follow.

Please try to answer the questions. If it takes you more than a day that's fine. Just give me the "still here" message.

I suggest you do your breathing exercise (3 breaths) and tackle one question until you've got solid answer. Then move on to the next question.

Nobody but you can explore your experience for you. Reading books won't help. Doing a little exploration and then writing me such answers leaves me little choice but to ask you to treat this stuff seriously and look again.

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yuvi
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:20 pm

Sure Armstrong, I respect your time and will do my best. I have had the feeling of no-self occasionally, but it was spontaneous. I am sure your guidance will help me see through this illusion again and again at will. I am careful not to use conceptual knowledge in my response but my own experience. i will write to you after i dedicate more time to practice what you have asked. thank you.
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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yuvi
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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby yuvi » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:40 pm

Hi, still there
YOU CANNOT KNOW YOURSELF. YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF.

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Re: Introduction and Experience of Self Illusion

Postby Armstrong » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:49 pm

Yuvi, my mentor suggested we get the following on the table:

We are not here to 'teach vippasana' or anything else, just walk with the client and point out the illusion.
We're not here to point you to some special no-self state, which you'll try with great effort to see 24/7.

So let's back up a bit. Please try to answer the following questions (we can come back to the other ones later):

1) Is there an inside and outside in direct experience?

2) What makes something 'out there' compared to 'in here'?


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