Staying awake

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Cyberogue
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Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:39 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
A long standing friend of mine has been using the forum with enormous benefits and as we are very similar people in our approach (in creating and solving our problems) I feel that there might be great value in seeing where this could lead for me. That is the immediate reality that brought me here. In a greater sense I would say years of trying to stay conscious for my life, which is why I thought my thread should be "staying awake". I have had moments of real connection and profound contentment in my life. For the most part I do not live in that space, and I would like to find a place that could help me to do that. I am a gay, ex-addict who has certainly tried many ways to navigate in a world that I find deeply distressing. As a long standing twelve step person, I also am unable to numb or hide from stuff - feelings or facts - and I would like to enjoy more of a sense of peace around how I then make my way in the world. Staying awake is for me like the practice of meditation, a constant and daily practice to not simply fall back into the same old stuff - or what I should really say is - at the time when you do fall to not spend any time longer than necessary before waking up again.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
I have felt out of place in the world since being a child. Certainly being gay did that for me. At the time, and until I was 29 i could not have seen that as a benefit but as a terrible disability. I spent my twenties medicating with drugs and had to then climb out of that pit. With more than a decade of sobriety I was painfully aware that medication comes in all forms - food, sex and especially work - but struggled to not repeat these in some form or other. I have all my life been seeking peace. I have found it, virtually always when i have stopped looking, but that has never been by a "letting go" but rather by having simply given up on the relentless seeking itself. I am both afraid and excited by the fact that I am now 42 and have not achieved what I had hoped. Afraid that i have failed. Excited that all this stuff on the way is actually more important than my imagined gold trophy at the end of an inexplicable race with no-one and everyone. I hate that I even have to write this as it feels like, once again, there is a right and wrong, and I am the first person to always need to be right. But here it is.

What do you expect of the conversation on this forum?:
Like minded people who are not trying to solve my problems but reflect what they see, and make me feel heard in a space that doesn't care about all the things that feel so important most days. The grace to be kind when I am suffering, and the courage to make me not wallow for a moment in self-crap.

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Ghata
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:55 pm

Hi Cyberogue,

Welcome to Selfoholics Anonymous, as one of the LU-founders calls her local meeting. There is a difference to 12-step-groups though. You will not have to refrain from the Self everyday for just this one day and one night. But find out for yourself.

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

Would you like to be called Cyberogue or any other name?
Also, what time zone are you in? I am located in Europe, Germany.

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.


A few preliminaries to get out of the way first.
• 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 http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660


If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too.
http://liberationunleashed.com/

Being experienced in the 12-step-process you know how important honesty is. 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.
My first questions are

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.

Good 24 hours,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Cyberogue
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:25 am

Hi Ghata,

Firstly thank you for the reply and the offer to be my guide, which I gladly accept. I am happy with the name Cyberogue or even shortening to Cyber for brevity, if that's ok for this process. I am in the UK, London, so pretty similar time zones. I am also a little nervous of failing on the daily posting, as I do travel and am not sure if i can post from my phone, but I understand the importance so will make sure that I get here although it is unlikely to be regular hours all the time.

I feel perfectly ok with the honesty, its essential for me.
A few preliminaries to get out of the way first.
• 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.
I think I have got quote working - not sure though. From the above I confirm that I have read, understood and look forward to a daily, honest read and response session. I do have a meditation practice and will continue with that.

On to your questions.
What are your expectations for this process?
My expectations. I want to just define between what I am feeling i am craving, and therefore what I imagine this can do for me - and the actual expectation of what it will be. I imagine that if I was to detach from my way of being in the world now I would have much less anxiety and much greater peace. I would go so far as to say the word bliss. It feels like there might be a switch that unplugs me, and with that will turn off - maybe some of the good - but definitely the constant worry, fear and anxiety. My honest expectation is that this will be something which lasts awhile (like a 12-step group) which brings relief, and then peters out to nothing and leaves me back in the same feedback loop.
How will it change you?
If it was to change me, it would be a permanent shut down of the washing machine in my head. Funny, even as I write that, I wonder what would be left of the identity i think of as me - simply because it is 42 years of creating the washing machine, and turning it off would be a mini-death. That mini-death is in a way i think what i am looking for. Like in NA, reaching a point of no return means you become ready to give up the habits that don't serve you. There is a sneaky part of me that hopes for an easy way to just turn of the bad stuff, like a one-step enlightenment that doesn't require any work, just pressing a button. I think I am rather lazy at my core, and the prospect of hard work (which is how I try and control my life - working as hard as possible, but often skimming the surface to just move forward and not really dig deep) makes me just feel tired. I would love to not feel tired of the prospect of living, and that being here is deeply worthwhile.
How will this feel?
I imagine that it would be a bliss to just be, and not have to try to be. There are so many layers of myself all competing for attention in the world. I am exhausted. I would like to feel energised, relaxed and hopeful. I suspect you are going to torpedo this idea, which makes me also feel like it is a process that in fact does have a right and wrong. The wrong are those who don't "see" and the right are those that do. Another part of me also wonders what it would be like to live in a place where you do "see" all the time, and how do you then live with other people who don't? What does that do to relationships and work?

I have read some of the threads, and sometimes I follow and other times i really don't. But to be honest, I would rather not read them for the moment, but walk on this with you and see where it leads me. That feels like a relief. In that way i don't have to compare my journey to someone else's.

Thanks again.

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Ghata
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:21 pm

Hi Cyber,

thank you for your answer. I see that you are really committed to doing it right.

If it is not possible to post, just write a short note or tell me before you leave. Keeping up the momentum is important but daily posting might not always be possible.

Your quotations are working fine.


All your expectations , the imagined and the "realistic ones" are neither right nor wrong. You were really honest in spite of the fear to be wronged :-).

I won't pluck them apart. They may come true or not, there is no way of knowing in advance. Waking up to the Illusion of the I is experienced very differently by everybody. Just be open to the possibility that it might feel different than what you expect it to be.


I have read some of the threads, and sometimes I follow and other times i really don't. But to be honest, I would rather not read them for the moment, but walk on this with you and see where it leads me. That feels like a relief. In that way i don't have to compare my journey to someone else's.
Good idea!

...the prospect of hard work (which is how I try and control my life - working as hard as possible, but often skimming the surface to just move forward and not really dig deep) makes me just feel tired.
Trying to stay in control is exhausting indeed. Is it possible at all?

Play with this exercise:

Lift one arm. Does the thought of lifting your arm control the movement? Is the thought directly connected to the movement? Or did the lifting happen by itself? Which arm did you lift? Who chose the side?

With love,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Cyberogue
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:34 pm

Hi Ghata,

I am laughing at the arm lifting exercise, the process of trying to do it, and then "see" who is doing it is somehow very amusing and light. Its great.

To answer your questions.
Does the thought of lifting your arm control the movement?
The thought doesn't control the movement. I can't locate the place that does. It feels as if there is my mind watching out from inside my head, and the arm which is doing the movement, and somewhere inside there was an instruction. They all seem rather disconnected actually.
Is the thought directly connected to the movement? Or did the lifting happen by itself? Which arm did you lift? Who chose the side?
No. I mean yes I suppose it started it, but somehow it feels separate to it. The lifting didn't happen on its own (I know consciously) but I can't see the workings. Feels like I should "see" the place that decides in some way.

I lifted my right. Didn't think about it, it just happened - I assume because its my dominant hand.

It feels like the thought "to lift" is invisible to me, I can't "feel" the decision. The action happens, and then it is. I suppose the my mind stops saying lift. Its amazing that I have done it now a lot as I sit here, and have not once put up my left hand - except now - making myself do it. Most of the actions are completely automatic. They don't feel like thoughts or concious ones at least.

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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:59 am

Hi Cyber,
The thought doesn't control the movement. I can't locate the place that does. It feels as if there is my mind watching out from inside my head, and the arm which is doing the movement, and somewhere inside there was an instruction. They all seem rather disconnected actually.
Great job! :-)

The thought doesn't control what you do. And you can't find the place where a control is located. The movement happens.
I suppose it started it, but somehow it feels separate to it. The lifting didn't happen on its own (I know consciously) but I can't see the workings.
Important discovery!

There are things you can experience directly, like the thought and the movement of your arm. And there are things you can't experience directly. You assume that the lifting didn't happen on it's own.


1. Move your arm again. Where is the assumption coming from, that it didn't just happen? Look directly into your experience. Also look out for any control being there. If it is there you should be able to find it.

2. Play with this:
Place your fingers on the keyboard of your computer. What do you experience directly, before any names are given. Where do the names come from?
In direct experience, can you find "Cyper, resting his fingers on a keyboard?"


Have fun!

With love,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Cyberogue
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:04 pm

Wow. In direct experience, when i really look, no - I can't find Cyber with fingers on the keyboard. I can only find hands on the keyboard, then "my hands", and then the assumption that the hands is me so I am there. Kind of got a flash of it there. Saw the reality as not actual. Weirdly though, I can only hold onto the feeling of that understanding for a moment and then it's gone - and I am then suddenly all one "thing", person, body and identity all rolled together. Is the aim to get the watching part of me to always be aware of the disconnect?

Got a little excited there, so going to move back to first part of the question.
1. Move your arm again. Where is the assumption coming from, that it didn't just happen? Look directly into your experience. Also look out for any control being there. If it is there you should be able to find it.
It hurts my brain to try and work out the first part. I have no idea where the assumption is coming from. I know that its moving, something must have sent the message and it "heard". So the inner ghost did that, therefore the inner ghost sent the message? The control is invisible to me. It exists because i see the results. When thinking about it though it would be impossible for the thing in control to see itself. It could only see the results of itself?

On the second task. I experience directly the feel of buttons on fingertips, then i recognise them as my fingertips. The naming comes after the experience or simultaneously to the experience.

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Ghata
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:01 am

Hi Cyber,

you are doing great :-)

Wow. In direct experience, when i really look, no - I can't find Cyber with fingers on the keyboard. I can only find hands on the keyboard, then "my hands", and then the assumption that the hands is me so I am there. Kind of got a flash of it there.
On the second task. I experience directly the feel of buttons on fingertips, then i recognise them as my fingertips. The naming comes after the experience or simultaneously to the experience.
Yes! There is no Cyber with finger on the keyboard. And after the sensation has happened, the thoughts quickly add the ´label.

1. Are there even “buttons on fingertips”, before any names are given? Or is it just the touch?
Weirdly though, I can only hold onto the feeling of that understanding for a moment and then it's gone - and I am then suddenly all one "thing", person, body and identity all rolled together. Is the aim to get the watching part of me to always be aware of the disconnect?
When you have seen the self-illusion directly, it will stay. If it is true that there is no “I”, there won’t be any watching part of it either.
Got a little excited there, so going to move back to first part of the question.
Wonderful! Looking for the “I” is one of the most exciting experiences in life.:-)
It hurts my brain to try and work out the first part. I have no idea where the assumption is coming from. I know that its moving, something must have sent the message and it "heard". So the inner ghost did that, therefore the inner ghost sent the message? The control is invisible to me. It exists because i see the results. When thinking about it though it would be impossible for the thing in control to see itself. It could only see the results of itself?
Isn’t it strange that though you can’t find anything there is still the assumption that there must be something like a ghost-control, hiding?

No need to strain yourself so much! Actually, looking directly is very simple. If I would ask you: “Is there dust on your cupboard?” you would most likely answer “Yes" or "No".
How do you know whether there is dust or not? Because you can see it. It’s really that simple. If you can’t experience something directly, see it, hear it, smell it, touch or taste it, it is not there.

This works for looking inside as well.

2. New Exercise to play around with:

Think of your first cup of coffee in the morning. Think of the smell, the touch of the cup or mug, the first sip, the heat, the taste, the feeling when you swallow the coffee.
Can you hold this cup of coffee in your hands? Can it quench your thirst?

Now get yourself a cup of coffee.

Smell it, feel the cup or mug in your hand. Take a zip. Feel the heat, taste it, swallow the coffee and feel it.

Was there a difference between thinking of the cup of coffee and actually having a cup of coffee?


With love,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:26 am

Hy Cyber,

how is it going?

With love,
Christiane
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Cyberogue
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:47 pm

HI there,

sorry for the delay, did the exercise yesterday, but then no internet post that to respond.

Before go into the exercise, there is this weird worry I have that goes like this. What would happen if I did see everything at a kind of distance? outside of "myself" or really without a "myself" at all (is that possible?). There is a little part of me that kind of feels like hanging on the "myself" part - even though I really feel that most of me is truly tired of the constant identifying with my career, body and outer stuff that i think is "me". But there is a part of me that is asking, ok, then what would be left? And who would that be? Would it even be any of "you" left? I just wanted to start with this, cos I think there is a degree of fear of letting go of being the "me" i am used to.

Right. The exercise.

The first is imagining it. When i do that, it feels almost as good as real.
Can you hold this cup of coffee in your hands? Can it quench your thirst?
When i get to this part of your question though I have to admit that no, i can't hold it, and while it feels like it fills a thirst it is not real.

When I then actually do the real thing. Well the experience is enjoyable because there really is something to savour, so its not fabricated or trying to remember the feel, but actually doing it.

Imagining something is a very close second, at least when you can't do it feels like you can convince yourself that it is as real. Only in the doing does it really, and fully, become present in order to actually savour and be present to experience it. So the first is an imitation of the second, real experience.

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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:52 pm

Hi Cyber,
sorry for the delay, did the exercise yesterday, but then no internet post that to respond.
In such a case just send me a short note, so I know you're still there.

But there is a part of me that is asking, ok, then what would be left? And who would that be? Would it even be any of "you" left? I just wanted to start with this, cos I think there is a degree of fear of letting go of being the "me" i am used to.
Very important question. We will talk about the exercise next time. Let's explore this first.

Please right down everything that comes up when I say

"There is no 'I' or 'self' whatsoever and never was. There is no Cyberogue who is gay. Nothing you can think of belongs to you or is you. No past experiences, no career, the body, emotions or things you have bought[./b]



With love,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Cyberogue
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:04 pm

Hi Ghata

Apologies for the delay. I will let you know in advance when I think there might be more times I can't respond.

To your latest post. I have pondered it and at first I don't quite know what to write. Funnily enough I reacted mostly to the "gay" part because that does feel like mine or "me". Nothing belonging to me sounds quite abstract and I find I can accept that. But me not being gay, which is part of how I identify myself, just seems not true. And if it is true, which I then try and absorb, then why does the body which occupies space have all these circumstances thrust upon it? What's the point? And that starts leading me down a path of thinking that gets me a little - I don't like saying it - but angry. Why all this suffering? All this stuff that makes us and weighs us down? And if it is illusory then my god the extent of suffering is just beyond comprehension.

Gosh. It feels like I need to apologise for that, and I find it interesting to myself that the question - and the gay part specifically - clearly sets off parts of me that feel sore and hurt. I suppose the response I want to make is that I certainly did not choose any of this, and tried very hard to not be it, so what would it mean if it wasn't there. I don't know. It would mean that I have suffered perhaps needlessly. That what I have felt makes no difference and therefore it makes me really experience a sense of pointlessness.
Part of me just rejects it saying its new age balderdash.
Part of me wonders if I could shed it all like a skin and what would be left standing? A being with no personality as all the experiences that define me would be washed away. I think our personalities are a sum of experiences, of what we are given certain circumstances. I guess my question to you then would be, if nothing I can think of is me, what does that mean about the value these things carry?

These are the thoughts that your suggestion brings up.

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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:57 pm

Hi Cyber,

thank you for your great honesty!
But me not being gay, which is part of how I identify myself, just seems not true. And if it is true, which I then try and absorb, then why does the body which occupies space have all these circumstances thrust upon it? What's the point? And that starts leading me down a path of thinking that gets me a little - I don't like saying it - but angry. Why all this suffering? All this stuff that makes us and weighs us down? And if it is illusory then my god the extent of suffering is just beyond comprehension.
I guess my question to you then would be, if nothing I can think of is me, what does that mean about the value these things carry?
Very good question. One of their values is to let you believe that there is an "I", which must be cherished and defended. You could see it in your anger and defense. This "I" needing to be attended to all the time can create immense suffering.

Here it is not about being someone different. It is about: Is there somebody,who is gay?


Tell me:

How do you know that "you are gay"? Look into the sensations that arise when you are attracted by a man. Really feel them in all their richness and detail. Just the raw sensations. What do you really feel? Is there a feeling of being "gay"? Is there any "I" in them who feels gay?

Remember the coffee-exercise. The "I" must be as real as the real cup of coffee. Or the dust on your cupboard.



With love,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

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Cyberogue
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Re: Staying awake

Postby Cyberogue » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:56 pm

Ah! So what I got when I looked at my being gay and actually looked at that - well, there is no "gay" in the sense that there is a label to things that happen. The gay is just the label, and it is a label that is very charged with meaning and stuff, but at its heart it points to feelings I have around my attraction to men. I see when you state it like that, that the label has become more than the thing it points to. I suppose the anger in me is to deny the value of what gay points to, which is the experience, but I understand that in a way the experience has become divorced from the label. And so the charge rests in the world of labelled things and not - or at least often - not in the actual experience of them.

There is no I that feels gay. That's powerful to me, because it's not a loss of identity but a lack of a need to be the identity without losing the experience of it.

Again, I feel like I get a flash, but then I just go back to me being me. And not awake. How do I hold the awake? How do I see the story as just a story? Even when I write that the answer seems to be, when I let go of how much that story means to me. How much I am just the story? And I arrive at the same place, if there is just a story which I no longer hold onto, then I - in some sense - cease to be.

How do I know that I am gay? In the sense you ask, well I accept the label the world has given the set of feelings and experiences that I have had. I suppose I have bought into the label, and built myself on accepting it as what I am. While really it is just a word.

B

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Re: Staying awake

Postby Ghata » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:57 am

Hi Cyber,
Ah! So what I got when I looked at my being gay and actually looked at that - well, there is no "gay" in the sense that there is a label to things that happen. The gay is just the label, and it is a label that is very charged with meaning and stuff, but at its heart it points to feelings I have around my attraction to men. I see when you state it like that, that the label has become more than the thing it points to.
Yes! First there are sensations, then they get a label. And the label "gay" has a lot of thought stories around it, mostly saying it is wrong being gay. The experience is very simple. The stories are not.
I suppose I have bought into the label, and built myself on accepting it as what I am. While really it is just a word.

And so the charge rests in the world of labelled things and not - or at least often - not in the actual experience of them.
Great insight!

There is no I that feels gay. That's powerful to me, because it's not a loss of identity but a lack of a need to be the identity without losing the experience of it.
YES! That is the core of what it's all about.

Again, I feel like I get a flash, but then I just go back to me being me. And not awake. How do I hold the awake? How do I see the story as just a story? Even when I write that the answer seems to be, when I let go of how much that story means to me. How much I am just the story? And I arrive at the same place, if there is just a story which I no longer hold onto, then I - in some sense - cease to be.
Yes! the I is the story about experiences and will cease to be when you see that stories are just stories- which can weigh you down considerably. As you already found out, the experiences will stay though.


- Find out, what the stories and the I are made of. Take 3 different experiences for exploration. You can use any experience you have.

The cup of coffee for example: how do the smell, taste, heat, touch, sight actually feel. And how do they turn into "cup of coffee" and into the story "I am drinking a Cup of coffee"?

Always start with the sensations, where are they in your body, what quality do they have? Tingling, pressure, sharpness...Do sensations have a name? Do you have any control over them? Is there any I in any sensation?

Then watch the labels being added. Where do they come from?

How does the "I" come in and the story about it? Where does it come from?


With love,
Christiane
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de


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