Anatman Man

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bmichael
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Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Thu May 26, 2016 4:25 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
Although the words sound strange, I feel like I know conceptually that the separate self doesn't really exist, and am getting closer and closer to living that - or at least it feels that way. But it seems it might help to have someone who knows the living of that shine some light on what remains of the illusory blockages. It hasn't quite clicked and I'd love a good shoveful of truth.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?:
I suppose I'm looking for the disappearance of something that doesn't exist, ha. But seriously, I guess I'm looking for some accountability or a push from someone who gets no-self, if that can be got. Hard to say the words right, and there really isn't a right way to say them, but I'm sure you get the idea. I really don't have any expectations, I don't think. I suspect that at the end of speaking with a guide the energy contraction that is the separate self will be a lot less contracted, but I don't have any real expectations. I've found of late that life has moved a lot more smoothly when I haven't had expectations, and when I remember that, the flow is much more flowy. I definitely don't remember that all the time, but it seems to be the energy with which I'm engaging with this.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
I've been into wondering what all this is about from a pretty young age. Read Plato in highschool, got hooked, and stuck with trying to figure out everything through philosophy for a long time. Sometime in college I started reading some Zen books on the side, and at one point went to a meditation session with a Tibetan monk who was a graduate student in the religion department. The milkshake I had after that session was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. With that delightful heightening of senses you would have thought I would keep up the meditation, but no, not really, maybe here and there, but nothing consistent. I did keep up with the reading Zen books on the side, and at one point picked up Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen. Made myself buy a nice zafu so I would really give it a strong try and have been meditating most days since then, that was about 8 years ago. I've experimented with a lot of different styles and have kept up a steady diet of nonduality books (I've always been a big reader in general) and have found sitting in silence to be the most powerful practice. I also took the Finder's Course last year. I've spent a lot of time thinking about no-self and non-duality and am at a point where I just want to see/be the truth beyond the mind and separate self.

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what? On a scale from one to ten (ten being most ready). : 11

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Sat May 28, 2016 1:50 pm

Hey Michael (guessing here) so if that's not what you want me to call you please let me know.
IM Sarah and I'd be happy to speak with you.

Have you looked around our site? Do you know what we do here?

You say you don't have expectation yet you want something that doesn't exist to disappear. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
Looking forward to speaking with you.
hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Sat May 28, 2016 4:33 pm

Hi Sarah,

I appreciate your response! Im sorry i haven't used the quote function properly, im away for the holiday weekend and on a cell phone where this typing and such is a little tricky.

To answer your question about looking at the site and whether I know what you do...

In the past I've looked around your site a fair bit and have a general idea of what goes on here. Ive also listened to a few youtube videos and read some of the articles. When I finally decided to ask for a guide I decided to stay away from reading stuff unless my guide advised me to. Totally down to dig back in if thats what is asked of me.

"""You say you don't have expectation yet you want something that doesn't exist to disappear. Can you elaborate on that a bit?""" (Again, apologize for improvised quote function)

Expectations are dissipating, they aren't completely gone. I don't know what to expect any more - something about even formulating my post and answering the initial questions seemed to instigate a deeper shift or letting go. There's a seeing that the loss of identification with a separate I as anything much more than a story is inevitable. Here's one expectation that just came up: there's been a belief here that it can be helpful for really waking up from illusion speak with someone who already has. I'm not sure if that's true, and there's probably a paradox or two in there. Ha.

In college and grad school they taught us that from a contradiction, anything follows. This was supposed to be an argument against P and not P at the same time. But if anything follows, doesn't paradox equal infinity? Just a silly thought this story had.

I hope you're having a beautiful day,

Beau

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Sat May 28, 2016 8:18 pm

Hey Beau
No worries about the quote thing! It will say the same thing below, just ignore!

House keeping first:
In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:
1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send? Ok.

Lets get going then!
How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?

Now have a really good look and tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?

Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?

In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Tue May 31, 2016 2:41 am

Hi Sarah! I'm sorry, I still cannot figure out this damned quote thing.

Straight to your questions...

***How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?***

So hard to say right now. The belief in a separate self has fallen away super quickly of late (like, since posting here a few days ago) it's hard to nail down the experience of it, if there is any. Things are just happening.


***Now have a really good look and tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?***

There isn't one. It's nowhere.

***Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?***

Who knows? Sounds impossible. (to the first question) No. (to the second)

***In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?***
I'm really not sure. I want to say the eternal present, but I can't be sure whether that's going to the mind and not coming from direct experience.

Thank you and hug!

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Tue May 31, 2016 3:18 pm

Hey Beau
I still cannot figure out this damned quote thing.
LOL - it took me a will too!
Under my post you will see a button marked reply. Press it. Another box opens. If you scroll down my post appears under that. If you highlight a section you want to reply to, then scroll up again till you get to the top of my post - there is a box on the top right marked quote. Press that. Then the quote will appear in your reply box.
So hard to say right now. The belief in a separate self has fallen away super quickly of late (like, since posting here a few days ago) it's hard to nail down the experience of it, if there is any.
For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?

Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?
I'm really not sure. I want to say the eternal present, but I can't be sure whether that's going to the mind and not coming from direct experience.
I prefer that which notices - but it doesnt really matter. However test this. Keep dipping in when remembering happens and see if it is gone?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Tue May 31, 2016 3:39 pm

For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?

Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?
I'll keep an eye out for these today, but right now, I can't find the feeling of a self, other than just identifying with that which is aware of all that is moving or is an object. I can see how identification with thoughts, feelings, desires can create the illusion of a self, but right now such identification or clenching around those things is happening very rarely, and dropping off more and more rapidly. I'll try to look at your questions more closely throughout today, though. Definitely definitely no chooser no decider and no control. The "fact" that there ever was the belief that there was something separate to have control is becoming kindof hilarious. So much suffering based on that one tiny mistake. And no one's fault.
I prefer that which notices - but it doesnt really matter. However test this. Keep dipping in when remembering happens and see if it is gone?
Hugs Sarah xxx
Funny, yeah I actually prefer that way of putting it too. I have spent many years immersed in the Awareness non-duality stuff and was trying to put it in a way that strayed a little from that conditioning (I think I once saw someone on these forums jumping on someone over using that nomenclature and so maybe shied away from it for that reason), but when I go up to put it in words that's still what's most natural for me. There's always that here, now, which is aware of the passing show. No idea what it is, but it seems more real than the passing impermanents.

I'll ponder this more today. Thank you for your words. I really don't see how you're different from me, essentially. For that, I'll send you a hug. :) Love, loving itself, loves.

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:38 am

Hi Beau
I'll keep an eye out for these today, but right now, I can't find the feeling of a self,
I like to be thorough Beau! Just having a good look around to see if there is anything else to be looked at! :)
I really don't see how you're different from me, essentially.
Is there any feeling of separation either from the world or others ‘out there’?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:52 am

Hi Beau
I'll keep an eye out for these today, but right now, I can't find the feeling of a self,
I like to be thorough Beau! Just having a good look around to see if there is anything else to be looked at! :)
I really don't see how you're different from me, essentially.
Is there any feeling of separation either from the world or others ‘out there’?
Hugs Sarah xxx
Sorry for the delay in response. Was really chewing over a shift in mood. Had a really blissful three day stint in NY over memorial day weekend where there was a feeling that the self was completely gone. And then somehow upon the return home seemed to shift out of that. Was a bummer. Hard to describe because there wasn't any obvious shift in terms of beliefs, although I guess the mind did become a lot more active. There can't actually be any separation between "me" and the world and others, but there was a flavor that went with that for a few days where I really felt and experienced myself as merged with the world and somehow that's faded. Going to keep looking and applying what you've said so far. Thank you.

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:16 pm

Hey Beau
And then somehow upon the return home seemed to shift out of that. Was a bummer.
Did you expect it too stay the same?
What tells you it isn't? Thought? Outside of thought - what is wrong with right now?
Look around. What stays the same? What is permanent? Anything?
the eternal present
Does this change? Does it ever not notice?
There can't actually be any separation between "me" and the world and others, but there was a flavor that went with that for a few days where I really felt and experienced myself as merged with the world and somehow that's faded.
OK - a couple of things. Expectation of bliss - that this is how it is supposed to be? Is that a belief? And is belief anything but thought? What can a thought know Beau?
Does everything arise in a thought or is thought a part of what is?
Secondly - is this a thought about others and separation or is it experienced?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:11 am

Did you expect it too stay the same?
What tells you it isn't? Thought? Outside of thought - what is wrong with right now?
Look around. What stays the same? What is permanent? Anything?
At the time, I didn't expect it to stay the same, because I was so absorbed in the present that I wasn't having thoughts about what would or would not happen. The only thing that could tell me that "it" wasn't the same would be thought. Outside of thought, nothing is wrong with right now. Outside of thought, nothing can be wrong, it seems. I've been looking around, and what stays the same is the looker or that which notices all that arises and subsides within it. As I notice that which notices, that which isn't changing, it becomes more palpable and more real.
Does this change? Does it ever not notice?
It's never not noticing, or, whenever I turn to see if it is, it is. Thoughts or arisings can pull me out of it and out into the world or time, but it seems like it must always be there for anything to appear at all. Whatever it is, it's primary.
OK - a couple of things. Expectation of bliss - that this is how it is supposed to be? Is that a belief? And is belief anything but thought? What can a thought know Beau?
Does everything arise in a thought or is thought a part of what is?
Secondly - is this a thought about others and separation or is it experienced?
I guess bliss wasn't the right word - more of a deep, deep peace. It wasn't something I was expecting, but I got used to it over those few days, and when it was gone, I had the belief that I somehow messed up and made it go away. But there's no doer, and thoughts are impotent. Thoughts can't think or know. They are objects arising within or upon that which is. I got caught up in believing that there was a doer again there for a minute. Old habits die hard.
I'm not sure if separation can really be experienced - only believed. Hence the illusion of separation. Outside of belief, nothing is separate. It can't be. It all arises now, within this that notices, this awareness, or no-thingness or whatever you want to call it.

Thank you mucho, hug,
`beau

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:22 pm

Hey Beau
You: I guess bliss wasn't the right word - more of a deep, deep peace. It wasn't something I was expecting, but I got used to it over those few days, and when it was gone, I had the belief that I somehow messed up and made it go away. But there's no doer, and thoughts are impotent. Thoughts can't think or know. They are objects arising within or upon that which is. I got caught up in believing that there was a doer again there for a minute.

Me: what if identification happens again?

You: Old habits die hard.

Me: It's kind of like peeling an onion Beau. One layer at a time.

I'm not sure if separation can really be experienced - only believed. Hence the illusion of separation. Outside of belief, nothing is separate. It can't be. It all arises now, within this that notices, this awareness, or no-thingness or whatever you want to call it.

Me: Anymore questions Beau? Anything else unclear? Any uncertainty?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:28 pm

Me: what if identification happens again?
Identification is being noticed and let go of more and more quickly. There's not the thought that identification is wrong, so there isn't really that clenching or feeling like someone is making a mistake.
Me: It's kind of like peeling an onion Beau. One layer at a time.
And the mechanism of peeling just seems to be a noticing and letting go. Not a lot of cause for tears in that.
Me: Anymore questions Beau? Anything else unclear? Any uncertainty?
Don't think there's any more questions for now. Looking forward to watching this unfold. Thank you.

hug

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Sarah7
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:26 pm

Hi Beau
So - just to clarify - I like to be thorough! Can you answer these in as much detail as you feel is necessary. Theres no rush! :) Ill then ask the other guides to check Ive not overlooked anything. OK!

Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience.
Describe it fully as you see it now.
How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Do you decide, intend, choose, control events in Life? Do you make anything happen? Give examples from your experience.
Anything to add?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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bmichael
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Re: Anatman Man

Postby bmichael » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:08 pm

Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
The separate self is just a false belief. There never was a separate self, just the belief that there was one.
Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience.
Describe it fully as you see it now.
The illusion of the separate self is the belief that one is somehow separate from the world and others, has one's own autonomy and free will, and that one's identity is confined to an individual body-mind. I'm not sure when it starts. I've read the common story of how it occurs when we first understand ourselves as being an individual with a name and separate form somewhere between 2.5 and 4 or so but I really have no idea if that's accurate. Personally, I just don't remember. The function of the separate self is largely to instill a sense of I/me/mine and fear/desire towards those things one wants to push away (to protect oneself or one's idea of oneself in some way) or to obtain for fulfillment. The process leads to a ton of suffering.
How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Seeing through the illusion of the separate self is feels liberating. Like a tremendous weight has been lifted. Cliche, but true.
Before starting this dialogue I had glimpses of no-self, but nothing that stuck. I think before this dialogue started I hadn't quite realized the full implications of the fact that the separate self is just a (false) belief, and can only live in thought. It's really so simple. Suffering from separateness is just having a false belief. Any time I start to suffer I see pretty quickly I'm believing something false, and drop it.
What pushed me over, oddly enough, was this energy shift I felt when I started writing the application. I think I'd known what ya'll were saying here for quite a while but part of me didn't really want to face it. Something about deciding to really be pushed on this shifted something here.
Do you decide, intend, choose, control events in Life? Do you make anything happen? Give examples from your experience.
Anything to add?
I don't decide, intend, or choose, or control. Things are just happening. Sometimes the belief can arise that I chose something or intended something, but that's just a belief, and that's just happening too. It's usually seen through pretty quickly and dropped, but that's just a happening too. For example, these words are just coming out. There's no independent "me" entity in here formulating what I'm going to say. After they are down here, one can say "he did it" and that's fine as far as it goes, but there isn't really a doer in truth. The mind likes to make up stories about what's happening and that's fine, as far as it goes, but when these stories are really believed or strongly clung to, they create a lot of suffering.

no more expectations,
thank you,
beau


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