Some advice?

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Michael B
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Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:10 pm

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:

I can't take this anymore. Literally I can't do anything else, all the thoughts which are arising are directed towards the idea of awakening. I'm struggling. I think I became obsessed with it, made up an another belief according to which "I" need to live, and it becomes very hard.

I thought I found the answers to the questions "Who am I?", "What is behind the thoughts?", "To what the thought "I" is pointed to?" and really believed the idea of flow, nothing, no-self. It felt real for some time.
But now I fell down into the well of ego again. Now, when I honestly ask these questions, with the best focus I can get, the answer is "This body/thoughts/memories/feelings are me. Thats how it was my whole life, and I can't change it. Freedom, truth, no-self - these are just labels which I soaked up from books".
Maybe I'm not ready yet? Yes, it's quite possible. But the fact that I can't go back to my "old" life frustrates me. I can't think of doing anything else, but deep down inside the belief of separate self is stronger than all the other stuff.
I know this isn't about shift of beliefs from one to another, and that the currrent situation I'm in is made-up by me. I just need to figure out all this stuff, because I can't live like this and I can't go to what was before.

What do you expect of the conversation on this forum?:

Some guidance, some support and knowing that this is true and real and the right thing to do. Some outer assuring, because I got nowhere by doing this alone (although I know no one can make it for me)

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:

1. Spititual Autolysis practice, where I saw that a lot of things about me are just made up and aren't very real. Haven't dealt with the core of all this yet, probably because I can't or refuse to see it.
2. Asking myself questions like "Who am I?", "What is behind the thoughts?", "To what the thought "I" is pointed to?", "What needs to be protected by fear?", "Who manages my life?", etc.

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:28 pm

Hi Michael,

Welcome to LU. My name is Jon and I'm happy to try to assist in your quest.
I can't take this anymore. Literally I can't do anything else, all the thoughts which are arising are directed towards the idea of awakening.
That strikes me as being a good thing. You sound quite motivated and that can help a lot.
Freedom, truth, no-self - these are just labels which I soaked up from books"...I just need to figure out all this stuff, because I can't live like this and I can't go to what was before.
Or perhaps 'you' don't need to figure out anything? Perhaps the feeling that someone needs to figure everything out is worth looking at?

I appreciate your fairly full and clear, honest introductory statements. What is very important at the outset is to take a good look at what expectations you may have of being guided? It doesn't matter how big or small and insignificant these expectations may be, it is worth mentioning them right now. (Some people, for example, enter this forum assuming that 'getting rid of all thoughts' will be proof of success. It can be a disappointment when that doesn't necessarily happen).

You briefly mentioned fear. Has that been an issue for you before when looking at 'self'?

Looking forwad to hearing back from you,
Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:22 pm

Hi Jon, thanks for the response! I really appreciate your time and effort to consider my stuff.
Or perhaps 'you' don't need to figure out anything? Perhaps the feeling that someone needs to figure everything out is worth looking at?
Yes, you are definitely have some point here - the desire to figure it all (life, death, true self) out is present. What needs to be figured out? What is behind this feeling? Seems to be nothing behind it, which is true for all thoughts and feelings. But I can't look at all my thoughts and feelings this way all the time, can I?
What is very important at the outset is to take a good look at what expectations you may have of being guided? It doesn't matter how big or small and insignificant these expectations may be, it is worth mentioning them right now.
Maybe there is some obstruction which can be seen more clearly from outer perspective? A more precise instruction at what I should look at more closely. Is this what you mean by expectations of being guided?
And in general there is expectation to be free. Free from identifying myself with thoughts, labels, emotions, fear. It may sound absurd in this context, but free from expectations as well.
You briefly mentioned fear. Has that been an issue for you before when looking at 'self'?
No, it would be better to say that looking at 'self' is quite opposite to fear, but that feeling comes and goes all the time.

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:57 pm

Hi Michael,
thanks for the response! I really appreciate your time and effort to consider my stuff.
You are welcome.

Here's a little information about what we do here.

The two of us will have a conversation. The purpose of this conversation will be for you to make the realisation that there is no separate self. All our investigations will be focused on this. I will tend to ask a series of questions that are intended to point towards this and it is for you to look.

Please put aside all expectations other than just to realise there is no 'I'. That 'I' is always just the content of thoughts and nothing that can be found as really existing.

I would also ask you to put aside all previous non-dual teaching and thoughts about awareness etc, and approach this very simply from honest basic beliefs.

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

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

It is useful to use the 'Quote' button as I have to quote my replies - It will make the conversation easier. You have probably noticed that I have been doing this already?
A guide for it's use can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660
Seems to be nothing behind it, which is true for all thoughts and feelings. But I can't look at all my thoughts and feelings this way all the time, can I?


Perhaps it's an assumption that this will be required or that this is the aim? Anyway we should look at this.
And in general there is expectation to be free. Free from identifying myself with thoughts, labels, emotions, fear. It may sound absurd in this context, but free from expectations as well.
Not absurd at all. It cannot be predicted how any realisation will be experienced but seeing through identification is what we will be aiming for.

OK, let's start.

Where are 'you', in your experience? From where you are now, look for 'self' or 'me'. What is found? Tell me.


Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:55 am

Where are 'you', in your experience? From where you are now, look for 'self' or 'me'. What is found? Tell me.
When I'm doing nothing and just looking for 'self' or 'me', there is an 'I' thought found in my head. During some activity, like typing this message, the thought 'I'm typing this' is present.
Perhaps it's an assumption that this will be required or that this is the aim? Anyway we should look at this.
Yes, its more like an assumption that this will be required to stay on the other side of the gate all the time.

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:37 pm

When I'm doing nothing and just looking for 'self' or 'me', there is an 'I' thought found in my head. During some activity, like typing this message, the thought 'I'm typing this' is present.
Is it possible to prevent such thoughts from appearing? Try preventing a thought from appearing.

For that matter, Is it possible to 'think' a thought? Look at how thoughts come and go, even those that are assumed to be 'directed' or 'chosen' thoughts. The key to this is to look at thoughts right now, in the moment. Never mind what they are ABOUT, just notice whether they can be prevented, or created (by someone).

Is there a 'you' that 'thinks' them or creates them? Can that 'you' be found, manufacturing thoughts, or do they just seem to appear?
Yes, its more like an assumption that this will be required to stay on the other side of the gate all the time.
It's good to notice this now and if possible to place the idea to one side.

Could a 'self' be making the sustained effort to notice its own illusoriness?


Regards,

Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:40 am

Thanks for a reply, Jon! Things are starting to get a bit clearer.
Is it possible to prevent such thoughts from appearing? Try preventing a thought from appearing.

For that matter, Is it possible to 'think' a thought? Look at how thoughts come and go, even those that are assumed to be 'directed' or 'chosen' thoughts. The key to this is to look at thoughts right now, in the moment. Never mind what they are ABOUT, just notice whether they can be prevented, or created (by someone).

Is there a 'you' that 'thinks' them or creates them? Can that 'you' be found, manufacturing thoughts, or do they just seem to appear?
No, it's impossible to prevent thoughts from appearing. Thoughts seem to emerge from nowhere, and after they are noticed by the mind, they fade out to nowhere again. Also, when I'm asking myself the question 'What is the next thought that will come up in my mind?', there is only silence, it seems that 'I' can't know the answer, therefore 'I' can't be the one who creates thoughts. From that point of view they just seem to appear out of nowhere and then fade out, while 'I' labels each thought as 'mine'.

On the other hand, when I want to think, for example, about pink elephant holding an umbrella - the next thing which pops up in my mind is an image of the elephant (I hope you got the idea). From this point of view, 'I' seem to control the thoughts and their contents, or maybe it's just a trick which 'I' plays to create an illusion of control?
Could a 'self' be making the sustained effort to notice its own illusoriness?
The only effort a 'self' makes is directed towards labeling process (thoughts are mine, body is mine), and strengthening the bond between 'I' and the object of labeling. It feels like I can't prevent this process either, only notice it happening.

Best wishes,
Michael

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:09 pm

Hi Michael,
Thoughts seem to emerge from nowhere, and after they are noticed by the mind, they fade out to nowhere again
This does seem to be the experience, doesn't it? thoughts do seem to emerge from nowhere and after a while fade out to nowhere.

But ... is a mind found, doing the noticing? Take a look.
while 'I' labels each thought as 'mine'.
That seems significant, in that it does not seem possible to prevent the thought 'I'
On the other hand, when I want to think, for example, about pink elephant holding an umbrella - the next thing which pops up in my mind is an image of the elephant (I hope you got the idea). From this point of view, 'I' seem to control the thoughts and their contents, or maybe it's just a trick which 'I' plays to create an illusion of control?
Well, again, this is worth exploring. Was the pink-elephant-with-umbrella thought 'your' creation? Or did it also simply appear, along with an assumption about being 'my thought'? To investigate this (and anything else that I might suggest) it is good to look at examples of experience or thought that are happening right now.
The only effort a 'self' makes is directed towards labeling process (thoughts are mine, body is mine), and strengthening the bond between 'I' and the object of labeling. It feels like I can't prevent this process either, only notice it happening.
But is there a 'self', really, that can 'make effort'? Thoughts happen, labeling happens. The thought of 'strengthening bond' happens, though actual strengthening of an actual bond doesn't, does it?

Is it really a 'you' that is doing the noticing? Is there one 'there'?



Thank you,

Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:21 pm

This does seem to be the experience, doesn't it? thoughts do seem to emerge from nowhere and after a while fade out to nowhere.
But ... is a mind found, doing the noticing? Take a look.
It seems like the 'noticing' is a continuous process, which is strongly associated with 'I' thought. Although I can understand intellectually that there's no 'me' to be found in the process of thinking/observing, but still it feels like the 'self' is present.
Well, again, this is worth exploring. Was the pink-elephant-with-umbrella thought 'your' creation? Or did it also simply appear, along with an assumption about being 'my thought'? To investigate this (and anything else that I might suggest) it is good to look at examples of experience or thought that are happening right now.
You are right, I can see that thoughts are not created by me. Nevertheless, 'I' thinks that it can 'summon' them and make them 'mine'. I know it's bullshit, and I don't believe in it now like I did before. But again, this process is still present and it seems like it can't be stopped.
But is there a 'self', really, that can 'make effort'? Thoughts happen, labeling happens. The thought of 'strengthening bond' happens, though actual strengthening of an actual bond doesn't, does it?
Is it really a 'you' that is doing the noticing? Is there one 'there'?
Yes, there doesn't seem to be a 'real' bond, only imagined one. Still, it holds different aspects of 'my personality' together.
Also, it seems like 'I' can't do the noticing, or stop it. When I actually tried to stop it, it felt like noticing continued to happen without 'me', but then where was 'I' at that moment? Strange feeling. This observing also seems to be happening, regardless whether 'I' label it as 'mine' or not.

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:50 pm

Hi Michael,
It seems like the 'noticing' is a continuous process, which is strongly associated with 'I' thought. Although I can understand intellectually that there's no 'me' to be found in the process of thinking/observing, but still it feels like the 'self' is present.
Take a sensation, such as seeing or hearing. Notice the experience of seeing this screen right now. First of all, who, or what is doing the seeing?

Looking at the experience of seeing, would you say that in experience, seeing the screen and the noticing of it are only 'separate' events in an academic sense?

Assuming that this is your experience, is there not a similarity with thoughts? Thoughts appear...and are noticed, without any apparent break between them appearing and being noticed. So where is the 'noticer'?

So, along comes the thought about 'I' and the felt association with the noticing of it. But can a thought be aware of anything? It seems that it can be noticed. But who or what is 'there' doing the noticing?
'I' thinks that it can 'summon' them and make them 'mine'. I know it's bullshit, and I don't believe in it now like I did before. But again, this process is still present and it seems like it can't be stopped.
Well, it may not be possible to stop the appearance of thoughts, including the thougt 'I'. Is that 'your' fault?
Still, it holds different aspects of 'my personality' together.
What does? The Easter Bunny? ;-) Might it simply be that thoughts have always 'said' this about a 'you'? Always made these kinds of announcements?
Also, it seems like 'I' can't do the noticing, or stop it.
Good to notice that.
When I actually tried to stop it, it felt like noticing continued to happen without 'me', but then where was 'I' at that moment? Strange feeling.
Good. More of this looking please. You are doing really well.

Thank you.

Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:20 pm

Hi Jon,
Take a sensation, such as seeing or hearing. Notice the experience of seeing this screen right now. First of all, who, or what is doing the seeing?
My eyes see the screen. But I guess they just see, without someone or something 'doing the seeing'; without a 'command to see' by some outside agency. Again, 'I' can't tell the eyes to stop seeing. But what can 'I' do then? Seems like everything and nothing at the same time.
Looking at the experience of seeing, would you say that in experience, seeing the screen and the noticing of it are only 'separate' events in an academic sense?
Yes, seeing and noticing are a single process, one inseparable from another... I'm starting to see that now (and how 'I' assign different labels to them, to make them look separate).
Assuming that this is your experience, is there not a similarity with thoughts? Thoughts appear...and are noticed, without any apparent break between them appearing and being noticed. So where is the 'noticer'?
So, along comes the thought about 'I' and the felt association with the noticing of it. But can a thought be aware of anything? It seems that it can be noticed. But who or what is 'there' doing the noticing?
Yes, it is the same with thoughts as it is with seeing, but a bit harder to explain. Sometimes it seems like one thought notices another thought, and this expands into an infinite cycle, but then again, this cycle is noticed and labeled too... by who? By no one, I guess. There is no 'me' here. Paradoxically, some part of 'me' can't agree with the last statement. Feeling puzzled here.
Well, it may not be possible to stop the appearance of thoughts, including the thougt 'I'. Is that 'your' fault?
No, and there's no fault, it just happens this way.
What does? The Easter Bunny? ;-) Might it simply be that thoughts have always 'said' this about a 'you'? Always made these kinds of announcements?
No, rather 'I' labeled some thoughts as 'parts of my personality'. And the whole thing ('my personality') like floats in space (and without the 'I' thought could it just all fade away? Probably not.)

Also, thanks for your words of approval, it is relieving to know that some progress is being made.

Many thanks,
Michael

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:16 am

Hi Michael,
My eyes see the screen. But I guess they just see, without someone or something 'doing the seeing'; without a 'command to see' by some outside agency. Again, 'I' can't tell the eyes to stop seeing. But what can 'I' do then? Seems like everything and nothing at the same time.
This is a really interesxting exercise actually. Try it again and this time I'll be more specific:

Conventionally it is said that 'I see' and it is assumed that it is 'eyes' or 'the body' that is doing the seeing

Right now examine your experience.
The words on the screen are being seen. What are they being seen by?
From thought, we have the idea that 'I see the screen'.
So what is 'I'? What can be found right here and now in your experience that is 'seeing the screen'.

Can anything be found? There is the thought 'I see', but is there actually an 'I' to be found that does the seeing?
If so, what is that?
Do you experience a body seeing? Is there an experience of 'eyes seeing'? Or would you say that there is just 'seeing'? Just the experience alone?
No, rather 'I' labeled some thoughts as 'parts of my personality'. And the whole thing ('my personality') like floats in space (and without the 'I' thought could it just all fade away? Probably not.)
You place 'I' in inverted commas but it looks like there is a belief that there is some kind of 'me' entity that (for example), labels thoughts? Look and try to find that labeler.

Sometimes there can be anxiety or at least discomfort at the idea that there really is no 'self'. Please let me know if you feel at all like this?

Best wishes,

Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Thu Dec 17, 2015 7:10 pm

Hi Jon,
Sometimes there can be anxiety or at least discomfort at the idea that there really is no 'self'. Please let me know if you feel at all like this?
Of course I feel discomfort. When you are asking all these questions I try to pull my best; to forget all the bullshit and to focus on here and now. But I can't come up with an answer which would be 100% true and honest, and in fact I can't tell you what's more frustrating - the so-called 'looking at 'self'' - or the thought which drives this process of inquiry, telling me that I'm not good enough, not motivated enough, not trying hard enough.
So what is 'I'? What can be found right here and now in your experience that is 'seeing the screen'.
Can anything be found? There is the thought 'I see', but is there actually an 'I' to be found that does the seeing?
If so, what is that?
Nothing, silence, which is again really annoying at times... The idea that there is no 'me' is understood on intellectual level, but is not my living reality. When I'm looking for 'self' (now or anytime during the day) there's only 'I' thought to be found, which seems to be doing the labeling, and if I try to see beyond it, there is nothing. After all this process of looking I just go back to 'normal' state which became satisfying now (Maybe I feel better when I'm not 'looking' and not trying to convince myself that there is no I?)

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JonathanR
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Re: Some advice?

Postby JonathanR » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:33 pm

Hi Michael,
Of course I feel discomfort. When you are asking all these questions I try to pull my best; to forget all the bullshit and to focus on here and now. But I can't come up with an answer which would be 100% true and honest, and in fact I can't tell you what's more frustrating - the so-called 'looking at 'self'' - or the thought which drives this process of inquiry, telling me that I'm not good enough, not motivated enough, not trying hard enough.
Thank you for letting me know. I am glad now that I asked. It is really important to acknowledge this at an early stage and the good news is that it can be addressed.

I want you to understand that nobody is judging you and you can't get this inquiry 'wrong'. There is no problem at all with your motivation. In a very real sense 'you' can't 'do' this inquiry. It kind of unfolds during the conversation, with looking and simply falls into place. A 'self' can't 'do it'. And also it is not about 'getting rid of self' or 'becoming nothing' or annihilation, though these are sometimes the fears that people have.

It is very common to experience some fear in relation to seeing through 'self'. Often this comes where there is a perception that something is threatened and then there is a very understandable and quite loyal reflex to protect. Is it possible to notice anywhere in the body that tension or discomfrot manifests as a sensation? If so focus a little on that and tell me about it?

The first thing to do is to acknowledge the loyalty of the protective feelings, which are doing a good job of trying to protect, but which can afford to relax now. In reality nothing is threatened at all since 'I' has always been an illusion and not a real entity that could be harmed. So the impulse to protect can stand down and relax. Nothing is about to get harmed.


Best wishes,

Jon

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Michael B
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Re: Some advice?

Postby Michael B » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:09 pm

Hi Jon, and thank you for the kind words and explanations.
Is it possible to notice anywhere in the body that tension or discomfrot manifests as a sensation? If so focus a little on that and tell me about it?
Maybe there is a little tension in the chest area, though it might be not necessarily connected with the looking at 'self'.
Regarding the protection mechanisms, I understand that it is a need of 'self' to be protected, and if I look into it a bit more (for example, asking myself the question 'What needs to be protected?') there seems nothing to be found.


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