Looking for a guide - apolsk

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apolsk
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Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:25 pm

Looking for a guide
I am looking for a guide to experience freedom from the illusion of "I". A lot of progress has been made over the years, many insights, but the root is still alive. Please help!

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:42 am

Hi Apolsk,

Can you tell me a little more about yourself, what progress has been made and how?
What led you to Liberation Unleashed?

Best,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:50 pm

Hi Kevin,

Thank you so much for willing to spend time on me.

I have been into the spiritual business since I was 15 (I am 42 now), mostly inspired by old Chan Buddhism masters and some Advaita teachers (Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta).

Had some pretty drastic opening 15 years ago, no doubt back then but I knew it was going to close, and surely it did. The mind recomposed itself in such way that it practices greed, anger, fear and so on despite knowing that it is based on a delusion. In other words, in real life situations it acts as if it did not know that, kind of like people with phobias are controlled by them even though they are consciously aware that things that they fear do not exist. The old self-centered model is still the one being automatically applied by default.

I stumbled upon LU accidentally and was impressed by the clarity and seeming effectiveness of the method applied in the Gatecrashers book. No "water", just get straight to the core. So I slowly read through it and answered the questions and it did work couple times, but the old ways kept coming back. Like going through the gate and forgetting it the next morning.

So there is still some belief lingering that holds it together, but I can't see it. If anything, it seems to be hard-wired and not going to dissolve at least until the body dies.

Frankly, I don't even care much about "I", but the suffering inside and in others (like my kids whom I try to control) is what's bothering me.

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:15 pm

Hi Apolsk,

Thank you for that complete response.
By the way, would you like to be addressed as Apolsk, or something else?
Also, what time zone are you located in?

On with the matter at hand.

If that would be ok with you, I would gladly be your guide.

You and I will simply have a conversation, the aim of which will be for you to make the realisation that there is no 'self'. That will be our focus. I will tend to ask various questions and set you some exercises, but nobody will be judging you. You can't get this wrong.

This process is a guided inquiry where specific areas can be examined. I am not a teacher. This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have.

Before we continue, a few formalities.
  • You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say, "still here!"
    I am not your teacher, all I can do is point, you look, until clear seeing happens.
    In general, I will ask questions, you look deeply and honestly, and respond.
    Responses require simple, uncontrived honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.
    Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers, and stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
    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.
Please learn to use the quote function; See these instructions

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at the main page, our disclaimer and a short video too.
For the sake of your success, I ask that you be 100 per cent honest. If you can manage that, this process will be much more efficient.

For ease of seeing, my questions will appear in bold text.

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we shall begin.

What are your expectations for this process?
How will it change you?
How will this feel?


You can press 'subscribe to this topic in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive an email every time I post here.

Best,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:14 am

Kevin,

Sorry, forgot to introduce myself properly. My name is Andrei. I live on the US East coast, GMT-5:00.

Yes, of course I greatly appreciate your help as a guide. I will respond at least once a day and honestly to the very best of my ability - but I've been honestly fooling myself all my life, so... At least I won't try to cover up something that comes into awareness.

Now, on to your questions!
What are your expectations for this process?
I can't say in this particular case I have expectations. It's such a loaded word. Just hope for a possibility that the automatic reliance on the concept of self will disintegrate. That whatever misbelief there still exists that keeps gluing it all together will be finally exposed in such way that there will be no possibility left anymore for living by it. As far as the process itself goes, I envision it as trapping the mind in a question that does not give it a chance to ignore the truth or look somewhere else. Just fry me alive, sir, as I am too smart for my own good :)
How will it change you?
I don't care much how it will change "me" - whatever story about "me" that is left to be written afterwards is fine. But there is hope, again, that as a result there will be less overreacting and unnecessary attachment to negative emotions and to choosing. And that will make it easier for others to interact with me and result in more adequate dealing with life situations.
How will this feel?
"I" is such a heavy thing to carry around, and my body remembers how it feels to live without this deadweight around the neck. To put it shortly, it will make the world a less serious place.

Secretly though I crave for the sense of joy and inner freedom I had once but those are just states. Nothing can be in an eternal state. I know at least that much without a doubt.

Regards,
Andrei

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:27 am

Hi Andrei,

I’m in Western Canada (GMT -8:00).
We’re close enough as to not make much time difference.

I will respond at least once a day and honestly to the very best of my ability - but I've been honestly fooling myself all my life, so... At least I won't try to cover up something that comes into awareness.
It takes an honest person to know when they’re lying to themselves.
So that’s a promising answer.


I’m glad you have no expectaitons.
They can be an immense barrier to this process.
Just fry me alive, sir, as I am too smart for my own good :)
As to my “frying you alive,” that’s not going to happen. I’m doing nothing but pointing.
You will observe and report.
As for you being smart, that’s great.
For whatever reason, I seem to draw the intelligent ones on this forum.

We will have to be vigilant in making sure you respond from direct experience—that’s in the very moment from the felt sense.
Your book knowledge will take a break during this.

But there is hope, again, that as a result there will be less overreacting and unnecessary attachment to negative emotions and to choosing. And that will make it easier for others to interact with me and result in more adequate dealing with life situations.
Nope.
Let go of that stuff too.
We have no idea how this will manifest for you. Those are all possibilities, but for the moment, let those hopes go.

"I" is such a heavy thing to carry around, and my body remembers how it feels to live without this deadweight around the neck. To put it shortly, it will make the world a less serious place.
Again, maybe, but not necessarily.


What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?

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


Thanks for the quick and complete answers.
Best,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:57 pm

Good. I feel at home with your honesty too.

Here is what is happening now:

A thought process to come up with "deep" answers, look impressive.
And that will make it easier for others to interact with me and result in more adequate dealing with life situations.
Nope. Let go of that stuff too

Sense of resistance, a usual thought "then what's the point of spending effort for no reason". A belief that everything needs a reason, and if there is none to be found, then something inside blocks the flow of energy and apathy/futility/depression begins. But in this case we are in a free exploration mode, so nothing like this is happening yet.
What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?
A sense of tension in the back of the neck, sudden emptiness inside. No plan to live by in the future, and even more emptiness in the stomach - something terrible is going to happen without a plan. Something that I cannot accept under any circumstances. A whirlwind of events beyond any imagination, leading to who knows what kind of hell state.
When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?
It's different when I just think of it compared when it manifests itself in real life situations. Right now it is like an "inner eye", a conscious shadow on the back wall of some empty space inside of the head. Realizing that if it is sensed, it is not me, just another form, and immediately the "perceiver" is relocated somewhere else, ad finitum until there is no more energy left for chasing it. Cat-and-the-laser-pointer game. It is clear that it's an artificial construct, a mind model.

In other moments it is something else: a glorious selfish story, a sudden "mine" contraction, a rigid choice. But those are not the direct experience right now. Yet those are the most troublesome.

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:22 pm

Additional observation. It seems that "I" is used by me to group and label everything negative in my thinking and behavior. When something good happens, it's "just happening", it belongs to nobody. But all the "bad" stuff gets labeled as "mine" and it instantly adds a lot of weight to it. A single episode becomes another proof of "my" overall evil nature, even though there is a realization that those "bad" things are vastly different traits that are not connected in any other way that they emanate from the same brain and labeled by the same word.

OK, that's more theoretic thinking. Just needed to vent frustration somewhere.

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:19 pm

Hi Andrei,

Thanks again for the excellent responses.
Sense of resistance, a usual thought "then what's the point of spending effort for no reason".
Beautiful.
What reason indeed?
Let's dive into this one here.
In direct experience--right now--why are you here requesting a guide?
What is it that's being sought?


There is lots to harvest on your last post, but I want to keep it in bite-sized pieces.
Let's have the answer to the above question first.

Best,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:28 pm

In direct experience--right now--why are you here requesting a guide?
Because I am not happy with just being, there is a sense that "something needs to be done", yet there is nothing I can think of doing that would remove this dissatisfaction. The desire for a guide is an admission that "I myself" am truly helpless here, combined with a belief that there is something "outside" that can look "inside" and point out the exit out of the infinite loop the thoughts are stuck in.
What is it that's being sought?
For a long time I thought there was a "big answer" to the "big question", What is it? Then I realized that What Is is the answer to that question. But the sense of seeking did not disappear. As if something is about to be lost forever, if I don't find it, but what it is, I have no idea. A tension of unknown nature that is being rationalized in so many ways. But the bottom line is the pure sense that "something is not right" without any idea of what is right or even a conscious belief in the right vs wrong as a universal concept. It's really a thought about the future that brings this about. Something feels wrong, and the peek into the future reveals that there is no prospect of it "becoming right" in sight. An eternal hell of being "wrong" and craving for "right". So stupid, really!

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:04 pm

Hi Andrei,

Let me start with your last line.
No, it's not stupid at all.

I asked the question because you mentioned doubt about the pursuit of nothing.
Yet, you are here.
Of course there's more.
The truth, for one.
Because I am not happy with just being, there is a sense that "something needs to be done", yet there is nothing I can think of doing that would remove this dissatisfaction.
We aren't going to "do" anything, per se. I will point, you will look. That is all.
Can you relax into that notion?
For a long time I thought there was a "big answer" to the "big question", What is it? Then I realized that What Is is the answer to that question.
Are you now comfortable with a lack of answers to questions?
Can you sit comfortably with just the question?

Something feels wrong, and the peek into the future reveals that there is no prospect of it "becoming right" in sight. An eternal hell of being "wrong" and craving for "right".
Can you disregard the future for now and stay in this moment?


Thanks for the hard work you're putting into this.

Best,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:48 am

Kevin,

Thank you for responding to my posts so promptly!
Can you relax into that notion?
Yes I am cool with that. It's only when I am on my own I tend to push myself endlessly until I am exhausted. Injured my knee recently from heroic sitting :) In many years of Zen practice I had a good share of "just sitting", of course, but it felt more like polishing a mirror to make a brick, hehe :) But guided looking feels very relaxing, I can do it all day long :)
Are you now comfortable with a lack of answers to questions?
Can you sit comfortably with just the question?
I am comfortable with the lack of answers, but not very comfortable with the feeling of the question itself. Some describe it like burning, but for me it is more like a vacuum inside, it makes me nervous and even angry - like, stop bothering me, people, I have an important question to answer! :) In a way, my life has been on semi-hold because of that. But when sitting with the question is the only goal and there is time for it, then sure, I can sit with it just fine.
Can you disregard the future for now and stay in this moment?
That's a tricky question. When there is only the moment, there is no future or me to stay in it. There is no even the moment, it's already a redundant thought. When there is "me" and "future", there is no moment to stay in as I am in make-believe land. In my experience it's a mutually exclusive set of domains - the world of real and the world of thoughts. But they constantly mix like oil and water, in the most puzzling way. And the "I" seems to be a culprit of it - the me-thought breaks the flow and switches it to something completely different and often irrelevant, causing havoc.

OK, too much talk again. No, I cannot force myself to stay in the moment. When I do, it's just a fake thought of "me staying in the moment". Similarly, disregarding future can only be faked by force, as in "DO NOT THINK OF A PINK ELEPHANT" :) I have no control over that, even though there is a presumption that I do. When future is forgotten, it is forgotten all by itself - until the next time.

But what's funny, the worry about the future and choices only stays until it becomes past. I have no regrets of the past whatsoever - whatever happened is no longer a concern.

Staying in the moment, the biggest part of that process is the thought that I am staying in the moment. Actual experiences take the front stage but quickly bounce back to "me staying in the moment". That thought feels unnecessary, as the moment is always here whether I think of staying in it or not. Where else could we be?

Feeling nervous, confused and tired... But determined to get to the bottom of it.

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:09 am

Hi Andrei,

Once again, thank you for the complete responses.
I read over them a few times and found a very important theme.

Every time you are out of direct experience, you hit big snags.
You convince yourself something must be done. I can hear a world of hurt in your words when you cross that line.
When there is only the moment, there is no future or me to stay in it.
Right there, you are in the moment.
OK, too much talk again. No, I cannot force myself to stay in the moment. When I do, it's just a fake thought of "me staying in the moment".
Boom, it's gone.

I'm going to give you some exercises to try out to show you what I mean by direct experience.

Cue up a song you like on your ipod or stereo, but don't play it.
Now, play in your thoughts only what that song sounds like. Try that for a few minutes.
Now, play the song.
How were those two experiences (the former thought, and the latter direct experience) different?

Go get an orange or apple from the fridge.
Keep it well away from you so you can't even smell it.
Think about what you remember that fruit tasting like.
Now, take a bite.
How were the two experiences different?


Try the same thing with smell.
Find an odor you like, a cologne or flower, or whatever, and think about what that smells like.
Now lift it to your nose and smell it.
How were the two experiences of smell different?

Try this with feel and sight as well if you like.

Report back.

Thanks,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby apolsk » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:06 pm

Kevin,

Yes, you've nailed it! When the attention simply stays in "what is", as I call it, there is no problem. But it does not. For some reason, or no reason, it prefers to dwell in thoughts more often than not. It won't stay in the direct experience by itself (of course, it does - but in the experience of thoughts), and that causes suffering. Thinking is much like heroin.

Now, the report from the exercises. Actually, I did more than you asked - simulated the simulation, then simulated, then experienced :)

Imaginary (song, grapes, cologne):
  • Sketchy, like a storyboard. Only most prominent details, like momentary flashes of feeling of taste, smell, etc.
  • Very schematic, lacking richness in details. A ghostly feeling, as a shadow.
  • Always the same, more or less. Like looking at the frozen image or video clip.
  • Forced: it takes some effort to bring up a memory and construct a mental image.
  • There is a sense of freedom to change any details if I please, plasticity of the mental image. Every detail is in accordance with my expectations.
Actual experience:
  • Can't really speak about it. It is unexplainable. But I must, so here is my finger pointing at the moon :)
  • Infinitely more rich in detail, total in its expression, overwhelming actually (in a good way). Even when by itself it is a recording (like that song on YouTube)
  • Surprising: some unexpected details emerge all the time. When repeated, never feels exactly like the previous experience.
  • Effortless: all this richness is generated all by itself. No need for effort even to notice - it's already noticed by the time I've noticed :) No need to produce anything.
  • Given as is, no control over anything. The image, sound, taste, smell are what they are, whether I like it or not. No sense of freedom to choose, and that is relaxingly honest.
It's a great exercise, seeing the difference side by side. Made me want to stay in the reality more.

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Re: Looking for a guide - apolsk

Postby KevinD » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:22 pm

Hi Andrei,

That's awesome.
That's the direct experience (DE) I will be asking you to draw from every time I point.

Now, I want to go back to the post where I asked this:
What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?
You responded with:
A sense of tension in the back of the neck, sudden emptiness inside. No plan to live by in the future, and even more emptiness in the stomach - something terrible is going to happen without a plan.
Fear is coming up.
That's perfectly fine, and in my book, a pretty good sign.
Old beliefs are being threatened with this thinking. Fear, even terror, are common companions to this process.

What to do with them.
I'm a big fan of mindfulness.

When I say there is no you, that it's only a thought, and that you have never existed, is the fear coming up again?

If so, watch where that presents itself physically -- there is always an accompanying physical sensation.

Set awareness on that sensation and examine its characteristics with detached curiosity.
You are watching it like an alien beamed down to report what goes on in this vessel called Andrei.
What is the size of the energy called fear? Is it heavy, or light? Is it cold, warm, hot? Is it clear, opaque or seemingly solid? Is it hard around the outside or fuzzy? What color is it? Is it static or pulsating?
Continue like that, all the while not giving it a story or any judgment of right or wrong.
It just is.
Then watch how that changes.
Describe it again as it changes.

It has been my experience each time these things come up, they want our attention.
Yet what we do is constrict, and push it away.
Instead, we should settle into it and give it our complete attention.
As a reward, at least in my experience, it reveals things to us.

That's particularly true of fear, because it is trying to cloak something.


Give it a try, and report back on how that went.


Best,

Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj


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