Request to be guided

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tfarrah
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Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:09 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
I have done enough inner work to see to some extent that self, I, Terry, is an illusion. In some life situations, such as the experience of strong emotions like anger and fear, it is clear to me that what I observe is not me and is not caused by what I think of as me. On the other hand, I continue to see 99% of my actions in life being driven by the compulsion to keep "me" together, to present a certain image of Terry to Terry's self and to the world. And it seems that this is a huge waste of human life. I long to be free of the delusion of self and to interact with the world more directly. This has been the most important thing to me for several years now. And before that, it was also very important, but I didn't think it was possible then so I wasn't searching for it.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this:
I want a guide to help me see through the illusion of self. What do I expect? I expect that the guide will offer me hints and directions according to my personality and background, and that it may or may not "work" right away.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
When I was a child, I yearned to "know God". After some time I concluded it wasn't possible and lived a fairly mundane, though privileged, life. I did a bit of Zen meditation at age 27, but quit after a physically painful weekend retreat. At age 34, while working with a skilled Re-evaluation Counseling teacher in a group setting, I experienced about one minute of no fear, of connection with all others. In 2000, at age 40, I learned Vipassana meditation from Gil Fronsdal and have been practicing steadily ever since. In 2011 I did a 2 month concentration retreat with Pa Auk Sayadaw, after which it seemed I was propelled into the 4th Vipassana nana (Arising and Passing Away). I then began working with Beth Resnick-Folk in the Pragmatic Dharma lineage, doing noting practice 90 minutes per day. In July 2012 she said that a particular experience I'd written about in my meditation log was probably stream entry; two of her colleagues agreed. However, the character of my lived experience did not seem different after the purported stream entry than it did before (although I have gradually experienced more and more freedom, seemingly as a result of my practice, as the years have gone by). Lately I have been inspired by a variety of writings and teachers including Jan Frazier, Byron Katie, and Sandra Maitri (The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram). I have found these teachings to lead me to greater and greater freedom -- yet I still feel burdened by the illusion of self. I have read some of the interviews in The Gateless Gatekeeper. When I inquire, "what is Terry?", the answer I come up with is either "these sensations in my chest and this feeling of thick murkiness in the head" or "the one who is doing this inquiry". When I keep asking "well, what is the Terry who is asking this question", my breathing becomes shallow and the thoughts in the mind become wordless and a sense of grasping and confusion arises. Then the thought arises, "maybe I'm getting it now".

tfarrah
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:05 am

Dear potential guides, I will have limited/no access to the internet through Wednesday February 17. I look forward to starting this process soon after my return! Apologies for the delay.

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Ghata
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby Ghata » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:53 am

Hi Tfarrah,

Welcome to the Liberation Unleashed Forum :-). Great to meet you here.

Would you like to be called Tfarrah or any other name? My name is Ghata here (Christiane on FB; we already talked to each other in the gate group).

If you agree I would be happy to be your guide.

This will not be a normal conversation. I will ask you questions and you will answer them. Please answer only from what you actually experience, not from thoughts or mental images.

For the time here stop reading any books, watching videos or listen to audios related to this topic. You are now going to find out for yourself what is true. Focus completely on this Investigation.

I ask you to be a 100% honest. Also please write each day as momentum is important.

Technical:
Please learn how to use the Quote function. It makes the reading much easier.
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Are you okay with everything?


Then here are my first questions:

You already described that you had experiences where the self couldn't be felt but still was back afterwards.

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

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards - Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

tfarrah
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:45 pm

Dear Ghata,

I am so happy and grateful to begin this process and to have you, Ghata, as my guide. Please call me Terry. I am OK with everything you state.

At the moment I am beginning a vacation (actually writing this from my phone) and it is best if we begin this process when I return Feb. 17. (I requested a guide 10 days ago and couldn't know that I would receive a guide just as I was leaving).

I will respond to your questions when I return.

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Ghata
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby Ghata » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:45 pm

Fine, Terry, enjoy your Holiday.

Speak to you soon,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

tfarrah
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:08 am

Dear Ghatha,

I'm back from vacation. Here are my answers to your questions.
What are your expectations for this process?
I expect that we will exchange messages at least once a day, and that you will ask me questions that will lead me to examine the experience of "I" and see that self is an illusion. I will report answers to the questions based on my direct experience.

I expect enjoyment and frustration. There is a story in my mind that this will not work for me. There is fear that I will become frustrated and, after some weeks, anxious about whether to quit or continue.
How will it change you?
If the illusion is seen through, my life will remain pretty much the same, but my perspective on my experience will change. I may still become absorbed in the fiction of self and identify with it, but I will always be able to see it as illusion, just as when I am watching a movie I am always able to see it as a movie, not real. Seeing self as illusion will make further spiritual practice more effective. Further practice will be less likely to further enlarge the construct of self and will be more likely to lead to real spiritual maturation. Seeing self as illusion results in greater freedom, since one will less often act with intent to bolster the sense of self. However, all of my self-bolstering habits will remain in place; time and attention will be allow them to slowly unravel.

I read on the LU website that, once the illusion is seen, it cannot be unseen. However I have read in other places that the sense of self can re-solidify.

If the illusion is not seen through during the time we work together, I will likely still learn something about my view of self.
How will this feel?
From reading other dialogs, I expect that with seeing there may be a sudden "aha", or there may not -- it may be more gradual or subtle. There may be a feeling of lightness or freedom for some time.

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Ghata
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby Ghata » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:42 am

Hi Terry,

welcome back :-).

Your expectations are pretty realistic.

There is fear that I will become frustrated and, after some weeks, anxious about whether to quit or continue.
This could also happen. If frustration comes up, talk about it. In our bouquet of emotions, it is one of the colorful flowers. We would then look into it.

There is a story in my mind that this will not work for me.
Why not? Could this be fear speaking?


When you read the following, pay attention to your reactions, especially to sensations arising in the body, feelings and also to thoughts that might come up.

There is no I, no self, nobody who is doing anything. There is nobody acting, creating or controlling. The seat behind the steering wheel is empty.

Warm regards,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

tfarrah
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:26 pm

When you read the following, pay attention to your reactions, especially to sensations arising in the body, feelings and also to thoughts that might come up.

There is no I, no self, nobody who is doing anything. There is nobody acting, creating or controlling. The seat behind the steering wheel is empty.
I arose a half hour early today to read and respond to your post. However, when I read the first paragraph above, before I even got to the second paragraph, resistance arose, and I went to Facebook and spent 10 minutes there.

Then, upon further reading:

“There is no I” – slight constriction in the throat

“… no self” - constriction in the chest; breathing becomes shallow

“ … nobody who is doing anything” - the thought arises, “she's got that right, I'm a nobody who doesn't do anything”

Then slight anger – “stop telling me this stuff! I've heard it a million times!”

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Ghata
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby Ghata » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:28 am

Hi Terry,

thank you for your open and honest response.

I arose a half hour early today to read and respond to your post. However, when I read the first paragraph above, before I even got to the second paragraph, resistance arose, and I went to Facebook and spent 10 minutes there.
Resistance can be expected. You are starting to question basic assumptions you've had until now. Should resistance get so strong that it's in the way, please tell me.

“There is no I” – slight constriction in the throat

“… no self” - constriction in the chest; breathing becomes shallow
Excellent description of the direct experience :-).

These statements can be breathtaking indeed. They sound as if there will be a great loss. You are not going to lose anything real though. The I is an Illusion and you will see it for yourself. Just like in the very much used analogy of Santa. At one point the child will discover that Santa isn't real. Nothing real is lost in seeing that, just a belief.
“ … nobody who is doing anything” - the thought arises, “she's got that right, I'm a nobody who doesn't do anything”
Judgemental thoughts, well seen.
Then slight anger – “stop telling me this stuff! I've heard it a million times!”
Right! Come and see for yourself.
I arose a half hour early today to read and respond to your post. However, when I read the first paragraph above, before I even got to the second paragraph, resistance arose, and I went to Facebook and spent 10 minutes there.
Who/what is the "I" referring to? Where do you experience it right now? What tells you that it is "YOU"?

Warm regards - Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

tfarrah
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:28 pm

Who/what is the "I" referring to? Where do you experience it right now? What tells you that it is "YOU"?
The "I" right now is a broad sensation of tension in the throat ... the sensation of breathing in the chest ... and a broad area of sensation in the skull that seems to be a constant stream/tangle of thought so rapid that I cannot discern any words. What tells me that it is me? Looking more closely, the stream/tangle of thought seems to have the word "I" embedded in it frequently ... a whisper of the word "I".

Going for a run now. Will try to observe more while running.

tfarrah
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:57 pm

While running, the thought arose, "Let's look at the 'I' right now". Then, "I can't look right now, I can't concentrate while running." Then, "Who is the 'I' who can't concentrate?"

"It's too hard to look right now; I have to focus on running."

"Really? Will the running stop if 'I' don't focus on it?"

Tension in the jaw, constriction in the chest, a sense of confusion in the skull. How can I feel confusion in the skull? What is that?

"I don't like this."

Who is the 'I' who doesn't like this?

tfarrah
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:20 pm

Ghata, do you have advice about how intensively I should be doing this looking? Is it best to look only occasionally, or throughout the day? What about during an entire 45 minute meditation session?

I just spent a 30 minute meditation session looking and asking "who is I? what is I?" I tried to keep in mind the metaphor of looking for a set of keys. Sometimes a sense of I would arise on its own, as part of a thought such as "I am looking forward to dinner". Then I would examine that sense of I, the associated sensations, the memory of how "I" arose. "I" seems to be a doing, a contraction and a bringing together of various concepts. This doing is vaguely unpleasant. Sometimes there was no distinct thought including "I". Then I would ask, "Can the 'I' be found?" Usually the answer was, yes, there is a sense of I that includes sensations in the chest, neck, skull, etc. Who is observing those sensations? Upon asking that, another I-doing occurs posteriorly in the body to the initial I-doing. Often when inquiring, "What is 'I'?", the throat constriction and shallow breathing occur that I reported before, and a sense of fogginess or confusion in the mind, a wordless mild panic. At that time there is no awareness of an "I". After 30 minutes I was not really bored, but also not super engaged, and the thought arose, "Is it worthwhile to look in this way for such a long time?"

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Ghata
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Re: Request to be guided

Postby Ghata » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:40 am

Dear Terry,

I appreciate you doing your utmost to find out about this 'I'.

Yes, do it often. It is not necessary to strain yourself though. This is not hard work, it is an exciting exploration. Consider yourself an explorer, researching a foreign wild tribe somewhere in the jungle. They call it participatory observation; fully participating in the life of this tribe, at the same time taking notes on what is happening.

The question you want to answer is: Can an I be found in the direct experience of what is?

"What is 'I'?", the throat constriction and shallow breathing occur that I reported before, and a sense of fogginess or confusion in the mind, a wordless mild panic. At that time there is no awareness of an "I
A very good example of this kind of exploration :-). Feeling the body sensation that would be called mild panic, there is only feeling, no separate I feeling them.

Should this panic arise again, welcome it like an old friend. It really is your friend, it tries to protect you from any harm. Ask it to come closer and tell you what it is that needs protection. Also look behind it. Is there anything there that is being protected?

The "I" right now is a broad sensation of tension in the throat ... the sensation of breathing in the chest ... and a broad area of sensation in the skull that seems to be a constant stream/tangle of thought so rapid that I cannot discern any words. What tells me that it is me? Looking more closely, the stream/tangle of thought seems to have the word "I" embedded in it frequently ... a whisper of the word "I".
Lovely description of your direct experience. :-) Here you found that the word "I" is appearing in thoughts, often and like a whisper.
Could 'I' be a thought? Keep that observation in mind.

While running, the thought arose, "Let's look at the 'I' right now". Then, "I can't look right now, I can't concentrate while running." Then, "Who is the 'I' who can't concentrate?"
Try it a bit differently, maybe first when walking, so you don't have to be afraid to fall or sprain your ankle.

Walking, feel your feet taking turns in touching the ground, the legs moving, the arms moving, the whole body moving, the breathing. Feel the sensations fully.

What does it feel like? Is there a feeler of these sensations separately from the felt or is there just feeling?


Warm regards,
Ghata
In the seen just the seen. In the heard just the heard.
(Bahiya-Sutta)

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de

tfarrah
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Request to be guided

Postby tfarrah » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:45 am

Hello, Ghata.

Flew to San Francisco today with a friend. Did some siteseeing, some looking.
Should this panic arise again, welcome it like an old friend.
This panic arises pretty much any time I do this investigation, so there is lots of opportunity to explore it.
It really is your friend, it tries to protect you from any harm.
This is a sweet, relaxing point of view.
Ask it to come closer and tell you what it is that needs protection.
Panic, come closer. What is it that needs protection?

Me. Terry.

Thought arises: I am afraid this is going to take a long, long time and it will never work! I am already way behind! And I am afraid of being afraid, because the fear is really going to make it not work!!!
Simultaneously, a sharp feeling of fright in the chest, then anger.

Looking once again at the "I", panic arises once again. Each time an "I" arises, I get behind it and look at it. It feels like an endless series of I's arises, maybe 3 per second, and that the gesture of repeatedly getting behind each one produces the panic feeling. The eyelids flutter rapidly.

Thought: so boring, want to go to bed.

<Just spent 15 min. on Facebook>

What are you protecting Terry from?

Destruction. Being smashed. She is so small. On a shelf. She will cry. I need to keep a clear space for her.
Also look behind it. Is there anything there that is being protected?
I can't find anything. Maybe empty space.
This is not hard work, it is an exciting exploration.
This is an attractive idea, especially since I am a scientist by nature and by profession.
The question you want to answer is: Can an I be found in the direct experience of what is?
The answer to that is clearly "no". In direct experience there is only thought and sensation. I sit here and wait for the "I" concept to arise. Each time it arises, I immediately examine it and see that it is only thought plus sensation. Right now the process of examiniation isn't resulting in panic, but in a tightness in the center of the forehead.
Walking, feel your feet taking turns in touching the ground, the legs moving, the arms moving, the whole body moving, the breathing. Feel the sensations fully.

What does it feel like? Is there a feeler of these sensations separately from the felt or is there just feeling?
Just feeling.

Now I am finding that whenever the "I" arises I am semi-automatically examining it, immediately, to see it as thought + sensation.

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Re: Request to be guided

Postby Ghata » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:15 am

Hi Terry,

thank you for sharing your feelings so openly.<3

This process can be scary. Fear comes up when we approach the edges of what we know.

What are you protecting Terry from?

Destruction. Being smashed. She is so small. On a shelf. She will cry. I need to keep a clear space for her.

Since the fear is coming up so often, please talk to it again the same way you did. And when it tells you what it is protecting you from, Thank the fear for telling you. Give it a hug. Tell it how much you appreciate that it wants to keep you safe.

Does the feeling change? How does it feel now? Ask again, what it is there for or whether there is a message. And thank it for telling you.

Ask permission to look behind fear, what is being protected. Is it still nothing? Then stay with that nothingness.

Write what comes up.

Now I am finding that whenever the "I" arises I am semi-automatically examining it, immediately, to see it as thought + sensation.
Could you describe this thought and sensations a bit more? What is exactly happening , what comes first and what second and what kind of thought and sensations are there?


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

http://www.unterwegsmitbuddha.de


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