Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

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Christofer
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Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:18 pm

Hello!

A close friend of mine and fellow seeker recently told me about liberation unleashed. He had been recommended to check it out by one of his spiritual teachers, a person that I also hold in high regard. He suggested my friend could benefit from a more direct approach to liberation, such as the gift offered here in this forum. The initial response was a mix of disbelief and excitement. After having looked around at the website and read a few of the conversations in the book, the disbelief part has started to melt away and the excitement has grown stronger as has my fear and anxiety. I can sense the gate and my longing to step through, but also my fear of letting go of what has been the power source my psychological defenses.

My background in terms of seeking and inquiry is difficult to recount as I can't really tell when or how it began. It seems to me that this has been a life long endeavor that has taken me physically and mentally to many different places. It has reflected in my identity as an ongoing process of deconstruction and revaluation. A trial and error approach accompanied by a sense of uneasiness that emerges when ever I start to settle down with a set of labels to give meaning to who and what I am. Since I discovered buddhism about 10 years ago and having spent considerable time on the cushion, reading texts and spending time in retreats I have deepened my conceptual understanding of the self as empty openness. I have also had quite a few experiences that I have thought to be direct experiences of no-self but they have not stuck, so I guess there was still a notion of an I there and a separation between the experiencer and the experience.

I can't yet say that I expect to have a conversation here on this forum that helps me see reality as it is, to help me let go of the illusion of separateness, but I have a strong hope and longing for it. I expect that I will have to confront feelings that the I illusion today blocks, and the fear and anxiety associated with that. I long for support in doing this and the mere possibility that this might be possible thorough a forum like this fills my heart with gratitude and a hope for a kinder more beautiful world.

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:23 am

Hi Christofer,

This is Fred from France. Very nice to meet you.

A few quick guidelines: look to post daily/regularly or post to say if a break is needed; and set aside any other spiritual practices during our inquiry together.

Also, have a look at our disclaimer and the short introduction video here:

http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

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

Warm wishes

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:42 pm

Hello Fred!

Very nice to meet you, and thank you so much for offering to be my guide!

I have read the disclaimer, and can verify my commitment to check in daily in the forum or give notice if I will be away for some time.

Regarding my regular spiritual practices I don't really do much at the moment other than short moments of meditation and a regular but short evening meditation with my partner. Should I stay away from meditation during the period of inquiry as well?

I'm ready, thankful and excited to get started.

With warm regards!
/Christofer

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:40 am

Hello Christofer
Should I stay away from meditation during the period of inquiry as well?
No it’s fine to continue meditating. In fact, it may help to really get in touch with what is.
I can't yet say that I expect to have a conversation here on this forum that helps me see reality as it is, to help me let go of the illusion of separateness, but I have a strong hope and longing for it.
Step out of the mind stream for a moment and notice what is alive, what is always and already here, notice what is seen, heard, felt, touched, etc.
What makes you think that you are not seeing reality as it is?
I have also had quite a few experiences that I have thought to be direct experiences of no-self but they have not stuck, so I guess there was still a notion of an I there and a separation between the experiencer and the experience.
When you use the words ‘experiencer’, ’I’, ‘me’, ‘my’ etc, what are you referring to? Can you describe, in plain terms, what you SEE that could fit that description?

To answer these questions, always look to actual experience, what is immediately verifiable here and now, don’t accept a mind answer. If necessary, step away from this screen and go and sit somewhere quiet to look.

Warm wishes,

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:00 pm

Hello Fred

Well there is nothing in my actual experience of what is going on in my mind stream that in it self indicates that what is seen is not reality as it is. When I look there is nothing there that gives me proof that what I'm experiencing is not reality, that statement was based on theories.

When I use the term "I" or experiencer I refer to a sense of continuity of these experiences that I have. I'm not quite sure though that that is it though, as when I check in on it I start relating to it as "my" sense of continuity. I guess I really can't find anything that is this I within my experiences. Yet I still relate to this experience of not finding an I as my own, as if there is an I there that can't find the I. This looking for the I makes me a bit uneasy, there is some anxiety coming up in my body. Still I can't find the I in my experience, but a lot of stuff that I think is mine.

Thank you for these initial pointers, and looking forward to your response.

Best wishes
Christofer

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:38 am

Hi Christofer
When I use the term "I" or experiencer I refer to a sense of continuity of these experiences that I have. I'm not quite sure though that that is it though, as when I check in on it I start relating to it as "my" sense of continuity
When you say ‘continuity’, what are you pointing to, in actual experience?
What are you comparing THIS to? Memories? Are they true, tangible, verifiable, here and now?
Is there such a thing as continuity? Or is there just this experience, right now?
Still I can't find the I in my experience, but a lot of stuff that I think is mine.
‘A lot of stuff that I think is mine’ … is that the same as ‘a lot of stuff that is mine’? What is the difference?
Does thinking about it as yours make any difference to THIS, to the 'stuff'?
This looking for the I makes me a bit uneasy, there is some anxiety coming up in my body.
Good! Let’s work with that.
Let it come up in your body, describe to me its physical qualities. Let it stay around, welcome it. Give it all your attention.
What does this anxiety say?

Warm wishes

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:51 am

Hello Fred

My anxiety was with me more or less all day yesterday, and is still here in the body. Yesterday evening when I had the intention to sit down and work with this inquiry, it got mixed up with ongoing issues in my relationship. Yet there was a sense of obligation to spend some time with the inquiry, but I really was in no mood to do any direct experiencing. Maybe it would have been good for the process to do it anyways but I decided against it and instead make time for it this morning. As of now my anxiety is experienced most noticably in my chest, it is thight and there is a sort of pain there, it feels rather heavy and affects my breathing. If I don't make a conciouss effort to inhale deeply it is quite shallow. I also feel a tightness in my forehead and my eyes feel a bit teary. Other than that I'm afraid of the emotions are stirred up by my attempts at direct experiencing and in the dynamics of my relationship I can't find a message in this anxiety.

Yes this contiunity that I refer to as my self is part using memories as reference points to think about and create a mental context for that experienced in the present moment. My direct experience is that there are memories and these memories exist as reference points for my thoughts and actions, that is something that I can see happening. In these memories there is either mental images of this body that I think of as I, or just a sense of familiarity. I can see that the only think existing that is true is this experience right now, but that experience also holds these memories that are lined up and organized in a continous manner.

Thinking about mental stuff as mine doesn't really change the stuff, I can see that it is mental stuff wheter or not I think about it as mine or not. Thinking about it as mine does seem to affect the next moment though, calling in memories and action plans that relate to this situation that "I" am having.

As I'm writing this my anxiety goes up and down in intensity. I have short periods of release from the tension in my chest, but then as I move along with the observations and inquiry it shoots up again. Yet I'm happy that I'm doing this and feel much gratitude to you for being my guide!

All the best!
/Christofer

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:41 pm

Hello Christofer
As of now my anxiety is experienced most noticably in my chest, it is thight and there is a sort of pain there, it feels rather heavy and affects my breathing.
Look deeply into this and consider for a moment : What makes it ‘your’ anxiety, in actual experience?
What do you see that could own it?
Take a moment to come back to this breathing.
What makes it yours? Can you see/hear/touch/feel a ‘you’ who does the breathing? Or is there just breathing?
I can see that the only think existing that is true is this experience right now, but that experience also holds these memories that are lined up and organized in a continuous manner.
Are these memories that occur in this moment telling you about something that is actually happening?
Are they accurately reflecting the truth of what is unfolding, here and now?
You compare this unfolding, here and now, to a story of a happening told by memories, then you talk about continuity … can you SEE that continuity, in direct experience?
Are memories lined up in an organised and continuous manner, in your experience? Or is that a mind joining dots and creating a story?
Thinking about it as mine does seem to affect the next moment though, calling in memories and action plans that relate to this situation that "I" am having
Again, come back to the immediate experience of what is, the aliveness of this uninterpreted moment. Where do you see the evidence of a labelling as ‘mine’ affecting the next moment? Where is this next moment? Can you ever experience it?
Where do memories and action plans occur? Can you find a proof of them, without relying on thought?

Take your time to consider these questions, Christofer, let them infuse. See what comes up, and don't look into thoughts for the answer.

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:36 pm

Hi Fred

I can't find anything in my actual experience that makes this anxiety, this breath, my thoughts, memories or anything mine, I can't find anything that owns it. I can see thoughts about continuity but not continuity in itself. That my labeling of experiences as mine is affecting the next moment is also a thought, not my actual experience.

When I follow your questions and turn towards my direct experience I can't find any proof of this I. This feels like a relief for a moment, but then anxiety shots up. There is still this thought arising that relates to these experiences as mine and that seems to take me away from direct experiencing. This makes the anxiety drop somewhat, and the motivation to again look to see if there is actually any basis for this I in this moment is temporarily lessened.

I will bring your pointers with me during this weekend and make space to consider them deeply. I will however be away from my computer and will not write my next response until monday morning.

Again sending you my warmest regards!
/Christofer

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:13 am

Hi Christofer,
There is still this thought arising that relates to these experiences as mine and that seems to take me away from direct experiencing.
What is direct experience, is it a thing?
Can ‘you’ be away from direct experience?
Is there a ‘you’ that can be in or out of it?

Look at these thoughts that come up and relate to these experiences as ‘yours’. Question them, in the moment.
Are they true? What ‘you’ could they relate this experience to?
Can they be left alone, or are these thoughts a problem?

Pick an object around you, any object. Maybe this computer screen. Take a fresh look at it, like a newborn baby would. Let’s call it ‘observed’ and you, the ‘observer’.

1. Can you find boundaries between the observer and the observed? If so, where and what are they?
2. Is the space between the screen and you observed or observer?
3. Look at the hands. Are they observed or observer?
4. Look at the end of your nose. Is it observer or observed?
5. Where is the observer? Can you see/hear/touch/feel/smell it?
6. When a thought says ‘Christofer is looking at the screen’, what is going on, in actual experience?

Make sure you answer all the questions, and only scan what is given in direct experience to see what comes up.

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:25 pm

Hello again!

No direct experience doesn't appear to be a thing. I have a hard time finding words to say what it actually is though. It is what is, plain and simple. I can't ever be separated from the direct experience, yet I can't find any "I "when I look for it.

I see that these thoughts relating to experiences as mine are not reflecting my direct experience. I sense that letting these thoughts be is the best option here. In awareness they are just thoughts, part of this direct experience. The thought that these thoughts are a problem arise, but right now there is nothing that is sensed that verifies this thought.

1. I can not find any boundaries between the observer and the observed. I can't find the observer at all, only thoughts about the observer, which are also observed.
2. The space is observed, can't find the observer
3. The hands are observed as well.
4. It is observed
5. I can't find the observer with my senses. As of now there seem to be no way to find it.
6. In actual experience there is the observation of the thought "Christofer is looking at the screen"

Big thank you Fred!
/Christofer

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:14 am

Hi Christopher,
In actual experience there is the observation of the thought "Christofer is looking at the screen"
This leads us nicely into thoughts …

Let's investigate the thought 'hand’.
1. Write the word ‘hand’ on a piece of paper and look at it. Is the word 'hand' the same as the actuality of hand?
2. Next, say the word out loud. ‘Hand’. Is the sound of the word the same as the actuality of hand?
3. Next clap your hands or snap your fingers. Is the sound made by the hand the same as the actuality of hand?
4. Now, close your eyes, and see the image of a hand in your « mind's eye ». Is the image the same as the actuality of hand?
5. Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, and draw a hand. Do it quickly. Draw the image of a hand that comes to mind. Then look at it. Is the symbol the same as the actuality of hand?
6. You can also feel what hand feels like. Is the feeling the same as the actuality of hand?

In order to explore this you have to set aside all symbols, all concepts, and explore the true nature of hand.
Can you find anything? Is there anything there that you can definitively say, « This is a hand »?

Look for a thought. See if it is possible to find one. Can you capture a thought? Can you find the boundaries of a thought? Can you find the beginning and end of a thought? Can you find where a thought comes from and where it goes?
Finally, can you see/hear/touch/feel someone or something that actually does the thinking?

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:00 am

Answering the questions, 1 - 5 the answer "No this is not the same as the actuality of hand" came promptly. Answering the last question my first response was " yes this is the actuality of hand". I set the questions a side for a while and returned to them this morning. Now I see that feeling is not the actuality of hand. I can't find anything about which I can say "this is a hand".

Looking for thoughts got me a bit confused. Thoughts are passing by constantly, but when I consciously try to find one to investigate it appears very allusive. It seems they can't be directly examined as I can't capture them, I can't find the boundaries of them, I see no begining and end in my direct experience. I can't experience where thoughts come fromor where they go. This is much peculiar to me, and I feel quite uneasy right now, experiencing some anxiety in my body.

Coming back to the final question, no I can't find with any of my senses anything or anyone doing the thinking. I will try to sit with this and the anxiety for a while now.

Thank you again Fred!
/Christofer

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Freddi
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Freddi » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:24 pm

Hello Christofer
This is much peculiar to me, and I feel quite uneasy right now, experiencing some anxiety in my body
That feeling perfectly normal.
Can you welcome this 'anxiety', when it shows up?
Can you make room for it, sit quietly somewhere and really explore it, zoom into it?
What are the physical manifestations of this feeling, before any interpretation and labelling?
What does the feeling represent? What is it saying? Let it speak to you. Is it trying to protect something?
Do this whenever this feeling comes up again. Let it be there, simply. Don’t resist it.

For example, what comes up if I propose to you that there is no Christofer in charge of ‘his’ life at all, there never was one and never will be, there is only Life moving freely, without anyone at the helm? It is all on automatic.

Sit with this, notice what comes up, and let me know, in your own words and your own time.

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Christofer
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Re: Longing for liberation. Needing help to crash the gate

Postby Christofer » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:58 am

Hello Fred!

Still sitting with this question everyday, sometimes it still brings up a lot of anxiety sometimes not. Looking into the anxiety it is nowhere to be found in it self. There are physical manifestations, sensations particularly a tighetning in my chest and movement in my stomach, but they are not the actuality of anxiety. When I make room for the anxiety to show up I can't find it, peculiar and also quite liberating.

The feeling manifest as a sort of warning signal for the self, this looking into the direct experience and realizing that the direct experience is all there ever is and that the self has never existed is a threat to the self, that doesn't exist. The feeling is a response to the notion that something valuable would get lost and to the change that might follow. What happends to Christofers relationships if doesn't, and never did exist?

I'm about to go traveling untill 24:th of August. I will mostly be in nature without access to Internet. I will bring this inquiry with me.

Thank you for you suport and patience!
/Christofer


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