Durian, what brings you here?

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Ilona
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Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:29 pm

Hi, here we are and you are looking for something. What is it and what do you expect to find.
Please introduse yourself here.

Looking forward to your answer.
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:50 pm

Hi,

What am I looking for?

I am looking for a lasting sense of freedom from the cage of self, from being trapped in thoughts & beliefs, from fear—especially fear of death.

What do I expect to find?

I am not sure what I expect to find—I have some doubt whether I can break free because my mind is very strong and stubborn. If I could find it though, I would expect to find a release from the need to be in control, to struggle, to search, to manage, to know. I would expect a lot less tension and fear in the system and more flow.

I tasted the truth of "no self" in my first meditation retreat (Vipassana) in 1999. There was no doubt and there still is no doubt (well maybe sometimes?). But the experience didn’t last, only the conceptual understanding. After that it was a wild ride with kundalini issues, etc. (“dark night”). I live most of the time in the suffering of “me” tied up in knots, of my personality, my defenses, reactions, etc. I have explored/practiced a lot since ’99 but only had some profound “experiences” or “states” and no lasting sense of freedom.

If you want to read more specific details about my past journey and challenges you can see this Dharma Overground thread here http://goo.gl/CdTui. But I tend to get absorbed in the story so I don't know how useful that information is here.

I know about "myself" that I am very sensitive to what other people think and to feeling like a failure. For this reason I am not sure if it is better to carry on in a private email thread but I am willing to try this here if you think that’s a good idea...

As I write this I can feel a lot of both excitement and fear. Thanks for being here!

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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:18 pm

Dear Durian

thank you very much for answer. let's leave the expectations here for a while and take a fresh look. we can come back to them later and see it they have been met or not. for now let's focus on what is.

this seeing no self thingy is not a state and do not expect any magical boom, you may not even notice when the shift takes place, nothing to do with kundalini experiences. like finding out that santa is not real. just the same- drop of belief in fantasy. it's way more simpler than you imagine. all we need to do in order to see it is bring attention from the head and thoughts about the experience and see it as it is. right here, right now.

so now i would like you to be very attentive to thoughts and feelings as they arise, just write it all down here. let this thought in your mind and allow it to play there:

there is no separate entity at all in real life, only thoughts about it. no me/ i that is in control of life managing it and making choices. none as in zero.

write what comes up.
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:57 pm

Hi Ilona,
Thanks for your kind and mellow response.

“so now i would like you to be very attentive to thoughts and feelings as they arise, just write it all down here.”

Does this mean it is best if I just start writing immediately after reading this? I read it first thing in the morning and stuff started coming up, but I ended up waiting several hours.

When I first read this, “all we need to do in order to see it is bring attention from the head and thoughts about the experience and see it as it is. right here, right now,” I felt frustrated and mad because I “know” I need to do this but can’t make it happen, can’t force myself out of my head and I get mad when people tell me to get out of my head. Then I read it again and felt sadness and tears come. Then I decided to do my morning meditation and was wondering if I should have just started writing.

But actually I did have some weird experiences during meditation. Some thought passed by like "do you see that you see that it sees?" (or something like that) out of who knows where. One or two other strange moments like this that I don't remember.

I have this physical pain and tension that goes away when I am present with experience. So it makes the present experience thingy be a goal, that I want to get away from the pain but I can’t make it happen when I want it to.

When I read the sentence “there is no separate entity at all in real life,” I wonder: what do you mean by "real life"? This idea makes sense, but where are the thoughts coming from? It’s frustrating to have experienced the solidity all dissolve before and see the how all the different energies combine to make up the appearance of an identity moving separately through time and space. I saw through it, so when I read this kind of thing now I feel frustrated that I cannot see it now even though I know deep down it is true. It’s like I have a beginner's mind disability.

If there is no I that is making choices, how am I even getting through the day? How is the illusion of “me” so convincing? I have a very hard time with decisions, from the tiniest thing to the really big things. It affects my daily life all the time. I so want there to not be a controller … if I could only live in the reality of ‘no one is making choices’ then I think I would suffer so much less but this is probably still a fantasy of what results I will get.

Thanks for listening.

Looking forward to your next response. ☺

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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:10 am

Thank you for reply, you are doing great.

Firstly let's establish what is real and what isn't.
I say, real is that which does not dissapear if you stop believing in it.
Do this little exercise- close your eyes and imagine you are holding a watermellon in between your hands. Imagine it so vividly, that you feel the weight, the shape ond texture of the skin, hold it there, sensing it and open your eyes.
What happened to a melon? How about the sensation that was so believable?

That which is real can be sensed in one or more ways. That which is imagined is only in the mind. If you look around the room, notice things, touch them, feel them. Can you feel a fairy in any way? Or a sponge bob? How about a memory from childhood, can you feel/ sense that?

Yes illusion of me is very convincing. But it can not stand examination. Once the mind sees how it's created it cease to have power. Like Santa- once you know he is not real, you'll never write a letter to Santa again. And what happens to Santa when the truth is realised?

Your turn.
Love.
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:31 am

First of all I am not sure I understand how a desk in my room is any more “real” than the imagined desk. I mean, the mind is processing our sensory experience, right?…Just because my sense organs experience it, that makes it real? What if a person’s sensory perception is not accurate or the mind influences the perception? I’m still confused.

You say once the mind sees how the me is created, it ceases to have power. So do you mean I am not trying to get outside the mind? I thought the mind process itself was part of the me--or is it that the mind process as a continuous personality/identity is the me but not the mind itself? Maybe what do you mean by mind? What do you mean by me? Haha. And how will the mind see how the me is created?

Since I was born Jewish I will transfer to the Tooth Fairy analogy and the time I realized it was actually my mom. Yes the fantasy goes away. But I probably pretended for a while after I figured it out (still putting teeth under the pillow) to get the money!

Thank you… :)

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Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:46 am

Right....

It works like this- I ask questions, you look for answers and answer when ready with 100% honesty.

From your answer I only see that you trying to understand. This is nothing about understanding. It's about looking and finding answers yourself, by your own effort. You don't ask me questions, ok, you can ask, but it's very little chance I will answer them. It's your time to answer your own questions. I help you with right questions. Nothing else.

So once again, read my post before this and answer the questions.

When you look at desk in front of you, do not think about it, do not engage learned theories why its real and why it's not, just look at it and see it as it is- it does not disappear if you decide that it's not real. It's here everyday you look at it or not. And tooth fairy is a fantasy.
How can you compare it with a desk?

Come down from your thinking to testing, checking and looking.

Mind is nothing but a label to the stream of thoughts. But we will get to the labels once you come down from your fantasy land down to earth and start looking at tooth fairy and desk as they are- one is a fantasy another is here now in front of you.

There is reality and imagination. Find that line.
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:03 pm

Thanks for responding and clarifying the process...I will try again:

What happened to a melon? How about the sensation that was so believable?
After opening the eyes, the melon image was there for a little bit but was fading away. The sensation of holding it disappeared.

Can you feel a fairy in any way? Or a sponge bob?
No.

How about a memory from childhood, can you feel/ sense that?
This one is harder. It seems I am not feeling/sensing the actual memory, but I am feeling/sensing the thoughts/emotional reactions about it in the body.

And what happens to the Tooth Fairy when the truth is realised?
She no longer exists, only the story of her.

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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:48 pm

Very good, let's dig deeper..

Fairy no longer exist, just story about her. Hm. Fairy never existed, it was only a story + belief that it was real.
That belief is also clouding clear seeing that I/me has never existed either.

So let's challenge it.

Take a good look and tell me, where do thoughts come from? Can you control them? Can you cut a thought in half? Can a thought itself do anything?

Write how you see it.

Love.
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:16 am

Take a good look and tell me, where do thoughts come from?
I don't know. Mostly, by the time I notice them, they are already there. And when I seem to notice them as they appear, they seem to come out of nowhere. But I don’t know if that is because of too much noise in my system or if it is true. I do notice some thoughts are mostly repeats of older thoughts so maybe there are some loops going in the system.

Can you control them?
No. If I try to control my thoughts the experience is more painful and it is just the illusion of control but really suppression and tension and it comes out in other ways.

Can you cut a thought in half?
Trying to think about this one is giving me a headache. Other than cutting its time length in half, I can’t think of how.

Can a thought itself do anything?
It can provoke an emotion or sensation but I don’t know if that counts as doing something or if it is just a chain of events.

This can be fun but is exhausting!! It seems to take a lot of energy for me to not focus on understanding.

<3

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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:14 pm

Great answers. I see that you are noticing that thought process goes on on automatic. Thoughts come from nowhere and can not be controlled.

Now look around you. Notice how thoughts are labelling things and telling stories, naration is simply happening, like subtitles to a movie. If you watch a movie in English and have English subtitles, mind automatically reads them and that is in a way of enjoying the movie, you miss so much what's going on in the scene, when mind reads words.

Similar situation here: there is this and there is a story about this. It's going on by itself.

Let mind play with labels and report what you find.
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:13 am

Let mind play with labels and report what you find.

Yes there is a ton of narration.

I didn’t see as much labeling as in naming objects, not concretely, but I did see it generally, like forming a concept of a car as it drove by on the street. But I did notice a constant going into the past or future about everything with a story.

Sometimes I would notice, like if a body pain came up, I’d have this whole intense drama about everything I did wrong to cause it and everything that might happen with it in the future and when I realized that, it would become a lot easier to deal with.

One place this is story thing is really standing out is with my boyfriend. It is a long-distance relationship (California–Berlin). We go months without seeing each other and my feelings about him and the relationship change by the hour, even when I haven’t talked to him that day. Sometimes between really far extremes. I was seeing today it is so much of the story going on in my head that influences how I feel about “him” at any moment, but it’s not really “his” doing much of the time. And we had a really nice connection (on video chat!).

I also noticed when I was looking at color samples for new blinds today. I had a few that I had narrowed down the day before. I was holding them up to see which ones were best and rather than just looking at them and seeing how I felt about it, I just had to turn them over to see the name, so this could trigger the association about how I felt about them yesterday and any opinions based on their names. Rather than just experiencing their color at that moment I needed the story to inform how I felt now about them in the past. And I could tell the past association was influencing the forming of my opinion of a supposedly current experience. Was pretty funny.

That's today's report. :)

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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby Ilona » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:00 am

Great! let's look at the story and how it is being created. so you noticed, how mind goes into past and future and that thoughts are uncontrollable.

can you look at Durian now as a main character in the story. see that she has preferences, likes and dislikes, ways to deal with things, thought and behavior patterns. can you see how beautiful character Durian is?
if you look at the story as a play/ movie, can you tell if there is an actor there? how does story get created? what influences it? is there any control over what happens in the story? just take a good look here today.

look at story of durian from different views of different characters: best friend, family members, boss, somebody passing by on the street, compare it to the story in your head and see if it's not fiction.

if there is no story going on, is there Durian?
if there is no story about batman, would there be batman?
how is durian different from batman?
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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:06 am

can you look at Durian now as a main character in the story. see that she has preferences, likes and dislikes, ways to deal with things, thought and behavior patterns.
This was fairly easy. Focused today on seeing her as above.

can you see how beautiful character Durian is?
I'm not sure what you mean beautiful--I saw her as struggling, confused, in pain a lot, sometimes with little breakthroughs only to relapse again, trying to figure things out, feeling unsure of herself in the world, feeling like "processing" is never going to end.

I had a weird experience today: my computer has been having problems recently. I was in the middle of 2 big projects, one for work and one for school, and my computer died. I took it into the store and the woman told me the hard drive had gotten way too full so things stopped working. I told her yeah but it only was about 80% full. She said no, you really need to keep half the storage space empty because the computer needs this space in order to move, to work, to function. I had no idea this was the case. But I felt like she was telling me this for my brain or mind also. It feels so full that I think it cannot function very well. I shove things in and look for answers and try to figure things out and I think it needs more space, more emptying, and the right things will come out. Anyway I felt this today -- overloaded storage in "me"... = malfunction!

if you look at the story as a play/ movie, can you tell if there is an actor there?
Sometimes I pondered if "I" was just a mass of these preferences and conditions but I mostly focused today on seeing myself as a character. My head was kind of wanting to explode.

how does story get created? what influences it? is there any control over what happens in the story?
I didn't get this far today.

just take a good look here today. look at story of durian from different views of different characters: best friend, family members, boss, somebody passing by on the street, compare it to the story in your head and see if it's not fiction.
I did this one only briefly, seeing how certain people have a higher opinion of "me" than I do, it seems. Others, i'm not sure. For strangers I think it depends what energy I'm putting out/what face I have on when I see them. People who know me better I think it's different.

if there is no story going on, is there Durian?
No. And that's the only time I feel peace.

if there is no story about batman, would there be batman?
how is durian different from batman?

I think you are saying I am no less fictional than a fantasy/cartoon character. I could pretend to give a right answer :) and agree but...not there yet. BUT, now that I think of it, I did have some freeing moments today. Sometimes I have a hard time dealing with strangers or going in public because I pick up on people's energy and then I worry what they think of me and all that and it is exhausting. But actually I had a few times where I was thinking, OK if our personalities are fictional then there is nothing to take personally...why should I make myself miserable for this fantasy? So that was a bit helpful.

So anyway since I didn't get to all the questions, I will wait to hear if you have a new angle or if I should continue on with yesterday's Qs. Quite a full load!

:)

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Re: Durian, what brings you here?

Postby durian » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:07 am

I mean today's questions, not yesterday's. I think. Losing track!


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