Looking for a guide

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joelmonk
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Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:04 pm

Hi

I'm looking for a guide. I've spent around a decade doing my spiritual practices - mainly in Tibetan Buddhism and have had several deep but temporary awakened experiences. Recently, my sense of how I experience myself has changed more fundamentally and I'm curious to check in with a guide here to find out where 'I' am at.

Looking forward to speaking with someone.

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:38 pm

Hi there Joelmonk

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed.
My name’s Pea and I would be happy to be your guide, if you want.

If you haven't already seen it, there's introductory information here, our disclaimer and a short video too.

http://liberationunleashed.com

LU says: Enter into this process if you are ready and willing to question all your beliefs and assumptions about awakening, if you are ready to face your fears, and if you prefer truth to comfortable lies. Do not enter if your goal is to fix the parts of your life that you think are broken, to embark on a self-improvement project, or to gain some kind of spiritual certification. On this basis are you ready?

If you could confirm that you have read/watched all the above and feel happy with it- and would like me to be your guide, then we can get started.


As a starting point, we need to set up a few guidelines to guide this dialogue, please respond to confirm:

1. We will both agree to post at least once a day.

2. I will ask you questions for you to respond to.

3. Please respond with 100% honesty.

4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.

5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder 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 is fine to continue that.

6. Work out how to use the "quote" function, it makes it easier to refer back to each other's comments and questions quickly; instructions are located in the link below this line:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Does that all seem ok with you?

Pea :)

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:41 pm

It is also helpful to tick the "Notify me when a reply is posted" box, if you haven't already (I just forgot to do that!) lol

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joelmonk
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:22 pm

Hi Pea

That all sounds good - I agree to all your points. I also checked the introductory material and I'm fully onboard.

Looking forward to diving in!

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joelmonk
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:23 pm

and also forgot to check 'notify' button. Which I've done now....

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:25 pm

Fabulous! Let's get cracking then!
I've spent around a decade doing my spiritual practices - mainly in Tibetan Buddhism and have had several deep but temporary awakened experiences
It would be interesting and helpful to know a little more about your path to this point, what you're referring to re "temporary" experiences and when you say...
my sense of how I experience myself has changed more fundamentally

What are your expectations for liberation? What will it be like? How will this feel? How will this change you?

Pea :)

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joelmonk
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:25 pm

It would be interesting and helpful to know a little more about your path to this point, what you're referring to re "temporary" experiences...
Many times I've explored my experience of who am I or what am I. I've never discovered any entity that I could point to as an independently existing self. On two occasions I experienced a complete disappearing of being a separate sense of self - accompanied by lot's of laughing and some bliss. But then the usual sense of being self re-established itself.

Recently the experience of there being no independently existing self has become much more common. It feels very normal - not special - but never the less distinct. Often there is no sense of there being an inside and outside to experience. Yet - some sense of self still arises - I still get grumpy, joyful, excited or fearful.
What are your expectations for liberation? What will it be like? How will this feel? How will this change you?
I'm imagining that it is very normal. That life will still go on - but without a sense of there being a separate person living life. 'I' may still have goals and aspirations, but the sense of their being someone who has all that stuff is not there. In truth - I don't really know. Perhaps there are different stages of awakening and that the illusion of there being a self is just one aspect of that. I would like an end to seeking though!

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:58 am

Good morning Joelmonk!

Great! The expectations there seem reasonable.
Perhaps there are different stages of awakening and that the illusion of there being a self is just one aspect of that
Yes, this process on LU is just one step – just seeing through the illusion of self, using Direct Experience (DE). Beyond that? Well, let’s see.

You say
It feels very normal - not special
Yes. It can be very normal – it’s not like the self has ‘disappeared’, it was never there in the first place!
Often there is no sense of there being an inside and outside to experience
Yes! And yet,
some sense of self still arises - I still get grumpy, joyful, excited or fearful.

So, let’s look in DE…

When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? Size? A quality? Where do you experience this "I"?

And these moods/feelings (grumpy, joyful, whatever…)
In direct experience, can you find an "I" that experiences experience?
Is there a feeler of feelings? How are they experienced?


But before you get going on this, just to mention what is meant by "direct experience", as that is what you need to do, for these investigations... a brief explanation (although it sounds like you have some understanding of it already):
Direct experience (DE) is what is perceived via seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touch/feeling PLUS thought. When you look at/experience this moment, there is a range of sense perceptions and thought about it - or about the past - or about an I/me or about how something is good or bad or...
What we are looking at in DE is what is actually perceived versus what thought says about the experience - does it match? We look at the concepts and beliefs that are established as thought patterns - like "I am a human being having this body/mind that is separate from the world".

Ok? On your marks, get set…

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joelmonk
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:53 pm

Hey Pea!
When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? Size? A quality? Where do you experience this "I"?
When I look in my direct experience I can't find anything distinct that I could say the experience is happening to. As I look now there is tiredness. That is experienced as sensation in my body and I notice a desire to sit and do nothing. But I can't find a distinct I that has that desire. It is felt as an impulse to sit and do nothing. I can't find anything here. Yet experience still arises.

My body feels tired, there are sounds of the heater in my room, the sight of my room but I can't find an I that experiences it. I notice a grasping, trying to get something - to understand - "Is this it, is this being awakened?". As that thought arises there is some tension in my body. There is some confusion. Now a sense of trying to get something again. But still I can't see any I that I can describe with any qualities.

But experiencing experience happens - so perhaps thats what 'I' am. Now there is an experience of there being no inside and outside again - just awareness. And yet still something within me cannot relax around trying to get it!

I'll leave it here for now!

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:01 am

Hello again - I hope you're well and that the tired feelings have passed!
But experiencing experience happens
I can't find an I that experiences it
Great! So it can be seen that experience happens, but there is no experiencer there. That’s good – keep looking deep.
As I look now there is tiredness. That is experienced as sensation in my body and I notice a desire to sit and do nothing
So there is sensation – and then thought labels that as “tiredness” and something happens or doesn’t happen as a result.
"Is this it, is this being awakened?". As that thought arises there is some tension in my body. There is some confusion.
This sounds like a story, about how awakening should be, based on expectations or hopes. Who is there, that this being awakened is happening to? Take a look, again in DE, at the process of sensations, perception, thoughts, stories. How does that happen? Is there Joel there, lurking in the shadows - a thinker of thoughts, a creator of stories, OR is there just thinking?

Happy explorations!

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joelmonk
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:45 am

Hey Pea - I am more energised today thanks
Take a look, again in DE, at the process of sensations, perception, thoughts, stories. How does that happen?How does that happen? Is there Joel there, lurking in the shadows - a thinker of thoughts, a creator of stories, OR is there just thinking?
I look and I cannot find a thinker of thoughts. Thoughts arise and pass within my awareness, including the thought "there must be something to get, something to attain".

Sensations arise, perception arises and I am aware of them and at the same time cannot find the separation between them and me.

So I experience myself as a field of awareness or perception and I cannot find a self called Joel that is the thinker of thoughts.

Right now that's all I can say...

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:46 am

I cannot find a self called Joel that is the thinker of thoughts.
Brilliant - so no experiencer, no thinker. So where is this "self"? Can it be found anywhere else in experience?

A couple of times you have referred to "my body", so I wonder if Joel can be found there? What d'ya think?

Try these:

With the eyes closed, sitting still, notice the other sensations: hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. With only the input from those four senses, and without relying on thoughts or mental images:

Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or a volume?
Is there a boundary between the body and the ground?
Can you feel where the body ends?
Can you feel your ears?

In direct experience does the body have a shape or a form?
Is there an inside or outside?
What does the body consist of in direct experience?

Do you have control over this body?
Does the body hear?
Or is there hearing?
Are you this body?

Can you locate a mind?

Watch your breath - don't look in your thoughts? Go by your direct experience which is just now, just this happening right now and see what comes up


Lots to work through - do so in your own time. Enjoy! :)

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joelmonk
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joelmonk » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:59 am

Good morning Pea!
Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or a volume?
Is there a boundary between the body and the ground?
Can you feel where the body ends?
Can you feel your ears?
Some of these I can say yes. Like can I feel my ears. I can feel sensation where my ears are. Others it's harder to say - like can I find a boundary between my body and the ground. I can't sense an exact specific boundary - it's easy for it to be an idea of the boundary. Same with how tall is the body - initially I want to say yes - but then I see that the direct experience doesn't tell me how tall my body is, there is just sensation.
In direct experience does the body have a shape or a form?
Is there an inside or outside?
What does the body consist of in direct experience?
Again here - initially I wanted to say yes. That when I press my fingers against the floor they don't pass through it. So I feel a boundary and form to it. But when I am still and really look - it's hard to find the shape. I see how there being in inside and outside to my body could just be a concept - yet on some level I do experience there being an inside and outside and it seems to say otherwise would seem crazy. My heart and guts are on the inside of my body. But in direct experience my body is sensations, perceptions - just like outside my body. Those sensations are constantly changing.
Do you have control over this body?
Does the body hear?
Or is there hearing?
Are you this body?
There seems to be some control over the body - although I can't find an individual thing that does. But I lift my hand up and down now. No one else is making that happen. I can't say the body hears - hearing or perceiving is just happening. Nothing is doing the hearing. Am I this body - not in the sense of Joel is this body. Perhaps I could say I am this body and I am everything else in that it all arises in 'my' experience. Or I could say I'm not this body and I'm nothing else in that I can't find a individual thing that is it.
Can you locate a mind?
I can't - other than a 'mind' which I would call awareness.

Thanks!

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:15 pm

Hello again Joel – and happy weekend!

Can I just check? You say
Like can I feel my ears. I can feel sensation where my ears are
So, can you feel your ears? Or can you just feel sensation, and then thought adds a label of “ears” afterwards, based on a conceptual understanding of what ears are and where they are situated?
Direct experience doesn't tell me how tall my body is, there is just sensation
Exactly!
I can't sense an exact specific boundary - it's easy for it to be an idea of the boundary
So is there a boundary there – or not? Look again.
But when I am still and really look - it's hard to find the shape.
Fantastic. That is what we want, to really look. :)
I see how there being in inside and outside to my body could just be a concept - yet on some level I do experience there being an inside and outside and it seems to say otherwise would seem crazy
But previously you have experienced that
Now there is an experience of there being no inside and outside again
So which is it? Are you willing to go with the crazy option? Have another look, what is there in DE?
My heart and guts are on the inside of my body
Look at those, direct experience – can you find them? Where are they? What do you experience?
Those sensations are constantly changing.
Yes!
There seems to be some control over the body - although I can't find an individual thing that does. But I lift my hand up and down now. No one else is making that happen.
We will come back soon and look more at this area if we need to – control, decision making… But keep being aware of it for now – do you lift your hand? Sit and watch and wait?

But for now, keep looking at all the points above, whenever you can during the day. There’s some really good investigating and questioning and looking going on. And also try this as well… same, same but different as the Thais say…

Sit down and close your eyes. Can you please describe the direct experience that happens in this moment. Try to focus on sense perceptions only - not on what thought says about them... Do you find an entity "body"? What is there?

Do the same with eyes open... What do you find?

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Pea
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Pea » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:01 pm

Hi Joel. Just wanted to check in and see how you are getting on...


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