Thread for 'MichelleG'

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Xain
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Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Fri May 15, 2015 11:00 am

Hello Michelle

Welcome to LU and the forum.

Let me know a little about yourself.
Have you read any non-duality books or followed any teachers?
What would you like to gain out of the guidance here?

Do you have any expectations? Do you have any concerns?

Best wishes
Xain ♥

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michelleg
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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Fri May 15, 2015 2:19 pm

Hi Xain,

I'm 55 years old and have two young-ish kids (age 12 and 9). I worked in marketing for 15 years and now work as a hospice social worker and also recently joined a group that provides corporate-based mindfulness training. The break-up of my marriage three years ago really deepened my spiritual understanding...it was very painful and all I could do was accept it. Since then realization of the truth has been my highest priority. I don't have much motivation for any other "pursuits" (if one doesn't consider raising children to be happy and loving a pursuit).

I'd been seeking the truth less ardently for about 20 years prior, for a long time through a Buddhist path (which I followed independently, never a joiner). I've gone on a number of silent meditation retreats, including two of Goenka's 10-day vipassana retreats. I discovered non-dualism about 2 years ago via Adyashanti. I then moved on to read/watch Ramana Maharshi and Nissargadatta, and have recently benefited from the teachings Rupert Spira, Ganjaji and Tony Parsons. As a result of reading/watching Tony Parsons I completely stopped seeking for about half a day...then it started up again. I've also been very drawn to the teachings of Krishnamurti and Alan Watts throughout the past 20 years. Ekchardt Tolle and Byron Katie have been major influences along the way as well.

I feel as though the understanding of no-self is, for me, at best, a rather superficial sensation, and at worst, just another belief. But I'm probably characterizing my understanding as being less than it is: I'm comparing myself to where I want to be rather than to where I came from. I know, conceptually, that there is no central control "ego" or "self" within me that operates things, but I don't feel connected to everything else...I don't feel the "oneness." Put another way, I often feel the, "I am Nothing," but rarely, if ever, feel the, "I am everything." This leaves me somewhat depressed at times.

As far as the guidance I wish to receive, I would like help in letting go of the clinging to ego and sense of an "I" that still exists for me...not only to feel better (that is part of it), but I because I must...I don't feel I have a choice but to continue. I'm very strongly drawn to seeking this deeper realization. I would also like a guide to help me get a better understanding of where I am at in terms of the journey toward realization...I really don't know if I'm very close or still very far from realization.

I've read a couple of the dialogues between guide and seeker on this website so I have some sense of how things go in this process. My expectation is my concern: I expect to fully realize and feel from the inside out the sense that I am Nothing and I am Everything. My concern is that I won't.

Thank you again for guiding me through the LU work.

Michelle

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Fri May 15, 2015 9:16 pm

Hi Michelle

Thank you for your reply.
The break-up of my marriage three years ago really deepened my spiritual understanding...it was very painful and all I could do was accept it.
I understand. Often it is a strong 'trigger' that makes us look at life in more deeper ways - It looks like this was yours.

I have heard of all of the non-duality teachers you mention. Also, I can understand your perspective that you understanding is 'just another belief' at this moment. Teachers and books are useful, but they may not get a person to look inwards - To examine themselves and their own beliefs deeply. This is what we do here at LU.
I think of the guidance here as merely an extension of your own self-inquiry, but guided and assisted to examine key areas. There is no new teachings or beliefs here . . . we merely examine the ones that you have.

With you having so much background study, it can be considered to be both a help and a hindrance. You will certainly know of a lot of the background in this area and that is a good thing. However, the teachers themselves may have given you expectations and new ideas of what it's all about which may hamper the situation.
As far as the guidance I wish to receive, I would like help in letting go of the clinging to ego and sense of an "I" that still exists for me...not only to feel better (that is part of it), but I because I must...I don't feel I have a choice but to continue.
Good. I always say that the chances of realising 'no self' are directly proportional to the desire to realise it.
Looks like you are 'hungry' :-)
My expectation is my concern: I expect to fully realize and feel from the inside out the sense that I am Nothing and I am Everything. My concern is that I won't.
Ok.
Let me be quite specific here.
My guidance would be for you to realise, without total clarity and certainty, that 'I', this separate self that you currently believe you are is nothing more than an idea - A self-referencing thought.
That there is no separate self here. Nor has there ever been. Nor that there ever will be.

As a guide, I resonate very much with Nisargadatta's phrase 'Wisdom tells me I am nothing, love tells me I am everything, and between the two my life flows' - However, such a deep realisation would be for future examination and not what we guide for here. What we guide for '(seeing no separate self)' can be considered a very important and necessary first step.

I will ask you to put all previous non-dual study and reading to one side for this investigation and approach things very simply and basically. This is simply that I want you to tell me what you truly believe, and not what some non-dual teacher may have told you is the right answer.

I would also ask you to put aside all expectations other than the one realisation that I have detailed above. Notice that all expectations that you might harbour have an 'I' component to them (I will live life in a different way, I will feel more connected etc). We are examining the 'I' directly.

Have a look at these guidelines which will assist us both.

1. Please post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Answer from direct personal experience only (we can go into this in more depth later if needed).
4. Read the disclaimer on the Liberation Unleashed main site -> http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Let me know if you have anything else you would like to mention or questions you may have before we get started.

Xain ♥

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Sat May 16, 2015 1:17 pm

Hi Xain,

Thanks for your email. The guidelines are fine and I don't have any questions or anything else to mention at this time. I look forward to getting started!

Michelle

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Sun May 17, 2015 9:32 am

Ok Michelle, first off let's examine what you currently believe yourself to be.
What does the word 'I' point to? What is it responsible for? (I will use the word 'You' to point back of course)

No deep analysis is required - Just keep this very simple, concentrating on what you truly believe.

For example, do you believe you are a seperate person - MichelleG?
This name refers to a body, and the body is 'you'.
Right now 'you' are sat or laid down.
'You' are experiencing life right now - Seeing, hearing etc
You see a screen in front of you - You hear sounds in the room or from outside.
'You' have a mind and thoughts.
You control your body - You have a life and some control over it.
You decided to have a guidance on here.
In a few moments, you will choose what to write in response to what you have read, and you will will type it onto the keyboard.

Those are some simple ideas but feel free to reject them if they don't work for you.
Tell me your own opinion. What is 'I' - What does it do - What is it responsible for - What does the word point to?

Xain ♥

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Sun May 17, 2015 3:50 pm

I feel like I'm separate person mainly because other people don't experience my thoughts or my emotions or other physical sensations that I experience. When I die only I die. No one else dies. Also, other people don't share my unique view of the world based on past and present sensory input that came into my body and the responses to that input that came from my body over time. Also, in our society, I am held responsible for my actions...e.g., "I" am responsible for food, shelter and clothing for myself and my children. If "I" do something illegal, "I" will pay the consequences more directly than anyone else. If I fail, then I feel the failure more than anyone else does. If I do something someone doesn't like, they will attribute it to me -- not to everyone and everything. That's how our society works. If I'm depressed, other people around me may not even know it...only I experience it.

"I" includes a lot of actions and processes within my body that are automatic...these processes operate independently outside of awareness and control of my mind

What do "I" do? What am I responsible for? I am responsible for taking care of myself and my children: food, shelter, housing, education of children, training children to get along in society, nurturing children and helping them understand themselves and the world around them. I know that many other factors contribute to my ability to fulfill these responsibilities and that other people and situations have a huge influence on these things as well. But I do feel that I make decisions -- or that actions come from my body -- that have more influence on me and my children than, say, the actions of some random mother in Africa.

I am responsible for treating other beings with respect or at a minimum not harming them or harming them as little as possible -- i.e., I'm responsible for controlling impulses that would result in harming others or myself.

I operate / act / react / respond based on years of conditioning of my mind (by my parents, by society, by things that happened to me and assumptions I made about those things and how to avoid and attract them in the future).

I act and react based on deep-seated beliefs that I'm probably not even aware of. Many of those beliefs are fear-based...I estimate that I operate out of fear-based beliefs probably 95% of the time.

I also believe that the sensory input that comes into my body and my understanding of reality is very very limited in comparison to the totality of what exists. But knowing that doesn't seem to help me navigate existence or "be" in way that is more natural or balanced or "real."

I realize that everything I've said above assumes that "I" am my body-mind or that there is some permanent/solid "I" within my body-mind that is me. As I said earlier to you, I believe that I am not my mind and body. I believe that the body-mind called "Michelle" has no control center and no permanent aspect to it. It's just an organism acting and reacting to it's internal and external environment. "Michelle" thinks she's separate somebody because that idea was planted in her head early in her life and reinforced by her environment her whole life. I believe that, but I don't feel that.

Whew! That feels like a lot to say...and think.

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Xain
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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Mon May 18, 2015 4:52 pm

Hi Michelle

Thank you for your long and elaborate description - Really great! This gives us a lot to go on.
"Michelle" thinks she's separate somebody because that idea was planted in her head early in her life and reinforced by her environment her whole life. I believe that, but I don't feel that.
It is good that this is recognised. In fact, it is important to really examine just how deep this 'conditioning' really goes. It may come as a huge surprise.
Also, other people don't share my unique view of the world based on past and present sensory input that came into my body and the responses to that input that came from my body over time.
Well let us begin with the body and the senses.
The current belief is that there is an external thing 'out there' that is sensed by the body.

Let us begin with seeing.
We can have thoughts and ideas about seeing. 'I see', 'I read', 'My eyes see', 'My brain interprets the information'.
What we will now do is, rather than the ideas about what is doing it and what is happening, to go to the experience itself to determine what is doing it.

Right now the screen is being seen. Also, words are being read and formed into intelligible language.
So right now, in the experience itself of 'seeing the screen', can you determine what is doing that?
Also, the words are being read - Right here and now, in the immediate experience of reading the words, can you tell what is doing that?

In the experience of 'seeing', are there two clear things - The screen being seen as one, and the 'I' that is doing the seeing as the other?
Also, in the experience of 'reading' are there two clear things to be located - The words being read, and the 'I' that is doing the reading?

What do you find?

Xain ♥

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michelleg
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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Mon May 18, 2015 9:20 pm

You asked, "What is seeing the screen?"

If I cover or close my eyes I no longer see the screen, so my eyes have something to do with seeing the screen. That's all I an say without a doubt about that.

"What is reading the screen?"

I have the sense that whatever entity or thing is reading the screen is coming from my head, through the eyes, but as far as the experience of it, I have no idea. If I didn't know basic biology (i.e., that there is a brain in my head that is interpreting these marks on the screen), I would just sense that the reading is being done by ...I don't know...maybe some time of free-floating energy or awareness

"Are there two clear things-- the screen and the "I" -- in the experience of seeing?"

No, not really...it's not clear where one begins and the other ends (the screen and the seeing of the screen)...there's no clear feeling of "I" separate from the screen or the words on the screen.... Although...there is a separate screen because I can touch it and feel it as a separate entity. So there is, at a minimum, a separate screen and some other "thing" coming from my eyes that is seeing the screen

"In the experience of reading are there two clear things to be located?"

In the experience of reading, there are marks on a page that are seen by the eyes (because they aren't seen when the eyes are closed) and interpreted as words by some entity.

However, I also have the sense that the screen, the words and the seeing and reading of the words could be one thing happening in the moment...I have the sense that there's no separation between these things...that it's not clear where one ends and the other begins...but then I go back to "knowing" that the screen itself is a separate thing...

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Tue May 19, 2015 9:08 am

Hi again Michelle

Just as a pointer, notice that anything that sounds like 'If . . . then . . . so we can conclude . . . therefore' is all from mental analysis - Thought.
This is not what is called for here. I am asking you to look directly at the things I am asking for the answer.
If I cover or close my eyes I no longer see the screen, so my eyes have something to do with seeing the screen.
We will go onto movement and control later - Right now we are only concentrating on 'seeing'.
If the eyes are closed, seeing does not stop - It continues - You see 'blackness' or if you are looking at a bright light, maybe a dim red glow.

Maybe we do that as an examination.
Close your eyes - There is blackness. The blackness is being 'seen'.
Now, inquire in the immediate moment - Can an 'I' be found that is seeing the blackness?
In the experience of seeing itself, are there two things - The blackness and the 'I' that is witnessing it?
I have the sense that whatever entity or thing is reading the screen is coming from my head
Remember we are examining the experience of reading directly. You are saying that you are witnessing the head doing the reading, or something around or inside the head that is doing it. Is that what you find?
there is a separate screen because I can touch it and feel it
We will move on to the touch sense next - Right now, simply stick to 'seeing' - The experience of sight itself.
No, not really...it's not clear where one begins and the other ends (the screen and the seeing of the screen)...there's no clear feeling of "I" separate from the screen or the words on the screen
Just have another look at 'seeing' once more - The seeing of the screen.
Remember, I asking about the experience of 'seeing' directly.
In the experience, a screen is being seen . . . but is there also an 'I' present there in the experience doing it?
(So two things in the experience).
Can what is doing the seeing be identified in the experience of seeing itself?

Xain ♥

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Wed May 20, 2015 1:11 am

Wow...it is very hard to put aside what is known...

No...there isn't a separate "I"...but there's something that knows there is seeing ... or if not seeing, an experience of being surrounded by colors and shapes (if I open my scope up to my surroundings in total).

Yes, I see that there is just seeing if all of my awareness is placed on looking...it's as if there's no room for an "I" or anything separate from the seeing

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Thu May 21, 2015 7:54 am

Thanks for your reply, Michelle.

It's good that you seem to have discovered something but please go back and look at the questions I put and have a go at answering them - I want to know what is clear for you.
No...there isn't a separate "I"...but there's something that knows there is seeing ... or if not seeing, an experience of being surrounded by colors and shapes (if I open my scope up to my surroundings in total).
I think you are talking about 'the visual field' - That's fine.
Does this 'visual field' tell you anything at all about what is witnessing it?
Although you mention 'something that knows there is seeing', and we can go along with that for the moment, is it something that can be found in the experience itself? (Essentially the same question as above about the visual field).

If you wish to, you can also examine 'hearing' in the same way.

Sit and listen for a moment.
Now, in the experience of listening itself is there a 'listener' to be found?
Or is it more accurate to say 'there is just listening'.
In 'listening' itself, is there an 'I' found to be doing it?
Or is 'I listen' more just an idea about it - Not something that can be found?

What do you find?

Xain ♥

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Thu May 21, 2015 6:14 pm

No, the visual field doesn't tell me anything about what is witnessing it. There is just seeing. There is also just listening. In the listening, there is no "I" to be found doing it. The "I" is a idea...a thought...that is why when my attention is fully absorbed by the seeing or hearing, there is just seeing or hearing...no room for thoughts about an "I" or anything else.

Thanks for your patience, Xain. I was no doubt over-complicating things...maybe trying to hard.

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Sat May 23, 2015 9:15 am

Thanks for your patience, Xain. I was no doubt over-complicating things...maybe trying to hard.
No problem at all - Indeed, it is part of the process. Also, it is a good thing - something you have discovered (that there is a tendency to over-complicate things in your own inquiry).

Ok, at this stage it seems clear to you that the 'I' in 'I see' and the 'I' in 'I hear' can't be found in the experiences themselves - They are only as you say 'a thought about it'.

Examine the other senses in just the same way - 'I' in the sense of smell and taste for example.

The sense of 'touch' is a more 'close to home' sense and may take a little more examination.

Try this:
Reach out and place a hand on a flat surface like a desk or table.
Close your eyes.
Now 'go to' the sensation of the hand on the table.

Inquire:
Are there two 'things' there in the experience itself - A table being felt and a hand/body feeling - Or is there just a sensation?
In the experience, is there anything there saying 'table', 'hand' or 'I'?
In the experience, is there an 'I' feeling? If there is, what is it?
Or is it not clear that there is an 'I' feeling, and the 'I' appears to be only an idea / a thought - Not something that is actually doing it?

Xain ♥

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby michelleg » Sun May 24, 2015 2:20 am

Xain--I'm on holiday with a houseful of kids and adults, making it hard to think about enlightenment . I also did not bring my computer . I will write again on Monday. michelle

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Re: Thread for 'MichelleG'

Postby Xain » Sun May 24, 2015 9:05 am

No problem, Michelle - Thanks for letting me know.
Enjoy your weekend break :-)

Xain ♥


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