Requesting a Guide

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lew
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Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:56 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
I heard about this site listening to buddha at the gas pump interview with Tim Freke and Rick Archer. My primary practice is insight meditation, but I've begin to read/listen to Ruper Spira, Adyashanti, Loch Kelly, Peter Fenner, Peter Russell, Robert Adams, ...

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?
I find that each nondual teacher "speaks" to me in a different way. I don't quite have it; but I can sense I'm heading there. I'm hoping this site is a fruitful path. I don't know what to expect from this. When i first heard about this, I thought it was "simply" a questionnaire site. So now I don't know what to expect !

What is your past experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I was completely non-spiritual for my the first 35 years. I grew up in an atheist secular Jewish home with no spiritual practice whatsoever.
At around the age of 35 (I am current 58) I experience spiritual inklings that lead me to join the Catholic Church. I experienced levels of deep internal bliss when receiving the Eucharist. In hindsight, I see that i was diving into some pretty deep samadhi. In all of these years, until recently, I hadn't realized how deeply hate-filled the local bishop and most people in the pews next to me were. In my ignorance I had thought that the wonderful folks who I used as role models were the norm. It dawned on me that Jesus was , for everyone, myself included, simply a much holier version of what I thought I should be. Coincident to all of this unraveling of my faith, i attended an MBSR worshop. Also, I had begun noticing many references to the Buddha in Catholic spirituality books that I favored. This lead me to a local Insight Meditation Sangha. Funny how things work. Finding Tara Brach lead me to Adyashanti lead me to "Science and Nonduality". I've attended a couple week long retreats at IMS in Barre. And i recently attended a weekend retreat by Loch Kelly. I "sit" Insight meditation for 45 minutes most days. I listen and read non-dual teachers.

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what?: 8

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:26 am

Hi lew and welcome to the LU forum!
I'm Sandra and I can be your guide if that's okay with you.
I heard about this site listening to buddha at the gas pump interview with Tim Freke and Rick Archer. My primary practice is insight meditation, but I've begin to read/listen to Ruper Spira, Adyashanti, Loch Kelly, Peter Fenner, Peter Russell, Robert Adams, ...
Just for the length of this conversation, can you please stop listening and seeing videos about these subjects? We have the tendency to think about these stuff, trying to make sense of what others say, and mulling into second hand thoughts can be very confusing and slow you down.
I find that each nondual teacher "speaks" to me in a different way. I don't quite have it; but I can sense I'm heading there. I'm hoping this site is a fruitful path. I don't know what to expect from this. When i first heard about this, I thought it was "simply" a questionnaire site. So now I don't know what to expect !
Good. Not knowing what to expect is a good thing. You are ready to enter "new" territory :)
I experienced levels of deep internal bliss when receiving the Eucharist. In hindsight, I see that i was diving into some pretty deep samadhi.
I hope you aren't expecting to relive a past experience. There is no way to know how this will be for you. It can range from a very intense experience to a simple recognition of the illusion.
How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what?: 8
Why an 8 instead of a 10 or 11?

I assume you have read some of the posts in this forum and know how this works? Our goal is to check if a separate self can be found or is only illusory, so I will ask you questions and you will look for the answers. Not think about the answers! Look for the answers: notice what is present here now, what is going on, and describe what is going on without a conceptual over layer of interpretation about what is going on. This can take some practice and it may require some patience and persistence on your part. Frustration and strong emotions, like fear, may appear also. If that happens please let me know so we can handle with them.

So let's begin? If you had to show me lew what would you show me? Where do you think lew is located?

Looking forward to our conversation,
S

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:20 pm

Hi Sandra. Thank you for being my guide.
Just for the length of this conversation, can you please stop listening and seeing videos about these subjects? We have the tendency to think about these stuff, trying to make sense of what others say, and mulling into second hand thoughts can be very confusing and slow you down.
Yes.
I experienced levels of deep internal bliss when receiving the Eucharist. In hindsight, I see that i was diving into some pretty deep samadhi.
I hope you aren't expecting to relive a past experience. There is no way to know how this will be for you. It can range from a very intense experience to a simple recognition of the illusion.
No I'm not. I've heard the analogy that it may be like this : as a child we believed in Santa Claus. Santa was as real as any other person. Then the time came when we knew there was no Santa Claus. I will endeavor to drop expectations, but this is my current expectation.
How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what?:
Why an 8 instead of a 10 or 11?
Good question. I struggled a bit with this answer. When i just think about the question, I feel an internal push-back. I didn't explore the push-back; but deemed it worthy of lowering my score.
I assume you have read some of the posts in this forum and know how this works? Our goal is to check if a separate self can be found or is only illusory, so I will ask you questions and you will look for the answers. Not think about the answers! Look for the answers: notice what is present here now, what is going on, and describe what is going on without a conceptual over layer of interpretation about what is going on. This can take some practice and it may require some patience and persistence on your part. Frustration and strong emotions, like fear, may appear also. If that happens please let me know so we can handle with them.
Got it.
So let's begin? If you had to show me lew what would you show me? Where do you think lew is located?

Looking forward to our conversation,
S
In my gut: I would send you a photo of myself and say: this is Lew. I would maybe write a bio of my life and say that this is Lew. Lew is this person typing out this response. He's 100% located , somehow, in this body.
Lew doesnt understand how a consciousness could arise from this purely physical body, but somehow it does.
Lew has read that he is not his thoughts, and Lew has done exercises where he views his thoughts.
This is supposed to make Lew believe that therefore he is not his thoughts. And at an intellectual level Lew can see this. But Lew really really feels trapped into thinking he is his thoughts.
Just moments ago, while I was working on this response, I was in a state where I did see that I am not my thoughts. Then somebody came by and started complaining about something; and POOF, Lew was tight and anxious and in his head.

Thanks again for beign my guide.
- Lew

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:11 pm

Hi again Lew,
Just for the length of this conversation, can you please stop listening and seeing videos about these subjects? We have the tendency to think about these stuff, trying to make sense of what others say, and mulling into second hand thoughts can be very confusing and slow you down.

Yes.
Good, thank you.
I hope you aren't expecting to relive a past experience. There is no way to know how this will be for you. It can range from a very intense experience to a simple recognition of the illusion.

No I'm not. I've heard the analogy that it may be like this : as a child we believed in Santa Claus. Santa was as real as any other person. Then the time came when we knew there was no Santa Claus. I will endeavor to drop expectations, but this is my current expectation.
I love that analogy. When I've read it for the first time I thought "it can't be that simple" but when I saw what was being pointed, it was obvious it was. If expectations start popping up, let me know. I'll try to help burst those bubbles :)
Good question. I struggled a bit with this answer. When i just think about the question, I feel an internal push-back. I didn't explore the push-back; but deemed it worthy of lowering my score.
That's okay. I was just being curious.

Nice job looking for Lew! Below are some questions and comments related with what you wrote. When I ask you a question, I'm not suggesting that you think about the answer. These questions are very simple to answer if instead of thinking about the answer you look to what is present here, if you use the senses and describe what is noticed. It's like asking "Do you have a cat Lew? And if you do, can you describe your cat?". And you can think about the answer and tell me the story of the cat that exists in your imagination or you can just answer "no" or "yes, I do" and look at the cat and answer "he is big, yellow and has long hair".

So... (and don't worry with giving the perfect answers and let me know if I'm going too fast):
In my gut: I would send you a photo of myself and say: this is Lew.
Is the body Lew then?
I would maybe write a bio of my life and say that this is Lew.
That would be a story about "the life of Lew". Is Lew a story?
Lew is this person typing out this response. He's 100% located , somehow, in this body.
Would you say there is a person inside the body, pulling the levers that make the body function?
Lew doesnt understand how a consciousness could arise from this purely physical body, but somehow it does.
How do you know there is a Lew that doesn't understand? Aren't these just thoughts explaining what is going on in thoughts?
Lew has read that he is not his thoughts, and Lew has done exercises where he views his thoughts.
This is supposed to make Lew believe that therefore he is not his thoughts. And at an intellectual level Lew can see this. But Lew really really feels trapped into thinking he is his thoughts.
Other than thoughts about these Lew trapped in thoughts, can this Lew be found?
Just moments ago, while I was working on this response, I was in a state where I did see that I am not my thoughts. Then somebody came by and started complaining about something; and POOF, Lew was tight and anxious and in his head.
This is a good description of what happened in that situation but it seems you are under the assumption that a self is absent when everything's okay and POOF, a self appears when resistance happens? If a self really existed, would it appear and disappear? Or it would be always here, available to be found?

Take care,
S

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi Sandra. I don’t know how the quote in a quote in a quote is going to go, but I assume you know how to deal with this :-)
In my gut: I would send you a photo of myself and say: this is Lew.
Is the body Lew then?
Yes. What makes up Lew is the body, all of it. Also what makes up Lew is the brain activity producing consciousness; and all the unconscious below.
I would maybe write a bio of my life and say that this is Lew.
That would be a story about "the life of Lew". Is Lew a story?
No, not at all. I know the story isnt Lew.
Lew is this person typing out this response. He's 100% located, somehow, in this body.
Would you say there is a person inside the body, pulling the levers that make the body function?
No, not quite. Lew "emerges" from the brain's activities.
OTOH, this thing that "emerges" feels like a person pulling the strings.
But when I look, it feels like there is something behind the thinking/feeling, something observing.
But then I think, "Well this is all recursive", and kind of give up.
It is Lew thinking this and giving up.
Lew doesn’t understand how a consciousness could arise from this purely physical body, but somehow it does.
How do you know there is a Lew that doesn't understand? Aren't these just thoughts explaining what is going on in thoughts?
The thoughts happen. And then thoughts within thoughts. But it feels like the thoughts belong to Lew.
As I answer this I feel "trapped" inside this feeling that there is a Lew.
And if there is an "outside", then its not really Lew.
But of course, it must be, who else could it be ...
Other than thoughts about these Lew trapped in thoughts, can this Lew be found?
This is what I feel: Yes, (pounding chest dramatically), here i am.
This is a good description of what happened in that situation but it seems you are under the assumption that a self is absent when everything's okay and POOF, a self appears when resistance happens? If a self really existed, would it appear and disappear? Or it would be always here, available to be found?

The self isnt a hard/fast thing (like the little man pulling the levers). It rises from the brain. The sense of a self disappears sometimes, reappears other times.
So the self is "there" when it rises.
I dont know what it is , or where it is, when it is not present.

- Lew

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:49 am

Hi Lew, good morning and thank you for your answers!
I don’t know how the quote in a quote in a quote is going to go, but I assume you know how to deal with this :-)
Ahah, yes :)

There are words that point to things that can be found and described - cat, cup, for example - and words that points to things that can't be found although they can be vividly imagined: Batman, Santa Claus, Equator, China,....

Would you agree with what I'm saying above? Let me know if you have doubts.

If you think about a pink elephant, would you say the pink elephant exists? If your answer is "no", tell me why you are sure it's a no.

Take care,
S

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:11 pm

Hi Lew, good morning and thank you for your answers!
I don’t know how the quote in a quote in a quote is going to go, but I assume you know how to deal with this :-)
Ahah, yes :)

There are words that point to things that can be found and described - cat, cup, for example - and words that points to things that can't be found although they can be vividly imagined: Batman, Santa Claus, Equator, China,....

Would you agree with what I'm saying above? Let me know if you have doubts.

If you think about a pink elephant, would you say the pink elephant exists? If your answer is "no", tell me why you are sure it's a no.

Take care,
S
No, the pink elephant does not exist. I'm sure its a no because I can't see it or touch it.

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:23 pm

No, the pink elephant does not exist. I'm sure its a no because I can't see it or touch it.
Yes, exactly. How about Lew? Is it possible to see it or touch it?
When there is no thinking about Lew, is it possible to find the *thing* that is Lew?
Have a look around you. Is it possible to find Lew other than in thoughts?

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:30 pm

No, the pink elephant does not exist. I'm sure its a no because I can't see it or touch it.
Yes, exactly. How about Lew? Is it possible to see it or touch it?
When there is no thinking about Lew, is it possible to find the *thing* that is Lew?
Have a look around you. Is it possible to find Lew other than in thoughts?
my gut tells me that when i look in the mirror, that what i see is lew

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:42 pm

No, the pink elephant does not exist. I'm sure its a no because I can't see it or touch it.
Yes, exactly. How about Lew? Is it possible to see it or touch it?
When there is no thinking about Lew, is it possible to find the *thing* that is Lew?
Have a look around you. Is it possible to find Lew other than in thoughts?
my gut tells me that when i look in the mirror, that what i see is lew
thinking about this some more...
at another level i do know that what i think of as lew is the thoughts, and patterns of behavior and reaction.
what i am locked into this fear of death. this body, contains lew. when this body dies, lew dies.
even if lew is not a real thing that just thinks its a real thing, this lew-thats-not-a-real-thing fears its death.

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:03 pm

my gut tells me that when i look in the mirror, that what i see is lew
Why do you say the body is Lew? Isn't a body a body? Are you seeing Lew or a body?
thinking about this some more...
Ahhhhh! Thinking alert. Don't think, have a look!
at another level i do know that what i think of as lew is the thoughts, and patterns of behavior and reaction.
From where would you say thoughts are coming from? Do you see any evidence that the body is thinking? Or that there is a thinker - an entity that causes thoughts?
what i am locked into this fear of death. this body, contains lew. when this body dies, lew dies.
even if lew is not a real thing that just thinks its a real thing, this lew-thats-not-a-real-thing fears its death.
We can say the body will die, yes. And the fear of death is a very natural, common fear.
We are back to identification with the body.
Look at a hand.
Would you say you are looking at a you or that you are looking at a hand?

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:22 pm

my gut tells me that when i look in the mirror, that what i see is lew
Why do you say the body is Lew? Isn't a body a body? Are you seeing Lew or a body?
OK. Going forward on my answers here: No thinking.
I remember now something I had heard/read: "observe like a baby would before it is two years old."

Just looking. Just a body.
at another level i do know that what i think of as lew is the thoughts, and patterns of behavior and reaction.
From where would you say thoughts are coming from? Do you see any evidence that the body is thinking? Or that there is a thinker - an entity that causes thoughts?
The thoughts just come up. They appear from nowhere.
If I look for a thought that had just happened and has now disappeared: I didn't see it disappear, but now its gone.
This "nowhere a thought appears from" is the same nowhere that, for example, a sound appears from. Its just there.
what i am locked into this fear of death. this body, contains lew. when this body dies, lew dies.
even if lew is not a real thing that just thinks its a real thing, this lew-thats-not-a-real-thing fears its death.
We can say the body will die, yes. And the fear of death is a very natural, common fear.
We are back to identification with the body.
Look at a hand.
Would you say you are looking at a you or that you are looking at a hand?
Just looking at a hand.

So, all these answers were provided where i didn't allow myself to think, but to just observe.
I get into that state by either (1) observe like a baby would , or (2) make the effort to not allow thinking to happen, or (3) a loch kelly technique of "what is it now if there is no problem to solve ? "

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:47 am

Good morning Lew!
OK. Going forward on my answers here: No thinking.
I remember now something I had heard/read: "observe like a baby would before it is two years old."
Yes. Looking with "fresh" eyes to what is here now. That's it.
So, all these answers were provided where i didn't allow myself to think, but to just observe.
I get into that state by either (1) observe like a baby would , or (2) make the effort to not allow thinking to happen, or (3) a loch kelly technique of "what is it now if there is no problem to solve ? "
I would say you don't have to go into a state or make effort to realize an illusion, but you are going in the right direction.

I say this is not about going into a state or make effort because right now "seeing" is effortlessly happening, the senses are always on, you can't shut down or increase or control seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling.

When you look to a rainbow and you know what a rainbow is, you don't have to do something to know that the rainbow is a visual illusion, "a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky". So if you have looked at a perception and you saw that perception is not a self, even when a thought appears stating "this is me", you know that, regardless of the thought, the perception is not a self. It's just a "selfing-phenomenon" (selfing = the processes that cause the illusion of a separate self) that creates the illusion of a self :) Does this make sense?

So you have looked and saw a body (or to be a little more accurate, you saw what can be seen when looking to what we call body - if I look, what I see are hands, clothed harms, some hair, nothing more), you also saw thoughts. And sensations could be felt, I suppose.

Would you say that what can be seen/perceive can't be the self? If you look around, is it clear there is no self in sight? No "outside" self?

What do you see when you look? Can you describe what you notice going on right now?

Take care,
S

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lew
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby lew » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:16 pm

Good morning Lew!
Good morning !
OK. Going forward on my answers here: No thinking.
I remember now something I had heard/read: "observe like a baby would before it is two years old."
Yes. Looking with "fresh" eyes to what is here now. That's it.
So, all these answers were provided where i didn't allow myself to think, but to just observe.
I get into that state by either (1) observe like a baby would , or (2) make the effort to not allow thinking to happen, or (3) a loch kelly technique of "what is it now if there is no problem to solve ? "
I would say you don't have to go into a state or make effort to realize an illusion, but you are going in the right direction.
Right. What I'm doing is more like using a tool to slip into no/less thinking. There is some small effort involved because I most naturally am in my head
I say this is not about going into a state or make effort because right now "seeing" is effortlessly happening, the senses are always on, you can't shut down or increase or control seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling.
The senses are always on, but what they produce don't always get noticed. With seeing and tasting and smelling it seems like they are always on. But with hearing: I have a fan on next to me. When I'm not noticing, I don't hear it.
And I'm not aware of the feeling on my fingers, even though I've been typing with them, until I place awareness at it.
When you look to a rainbow and you know what a rainbow is, you don't have to do something to know that the rainbow is a visual illusion, "a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky". So if you have looked at a perception and you saw that perception is not a self, even when a thought appears stating "this is me", you know that, regardless of the thought, the perception is not a self. It's just a "selfing-phenomenon" (selfing = the processes that cause the illusion of a separate self) that creates the illusion of a self :) Does this make sense?
I like the rainbow example. It's one I heard a few years ago when I was just starting Insight Meditation. It really brings the teaching home.
And when I see a rainbow now, I always remember this demonstration.
And I "know" its the "meteorological phenomenon", but I also see a rainbow. The rainbow has become both to me.
I've also heard and understand the phenomenon of "selfing". It has come up a lot in Insight meditation dharma talks I've listened to.
It helped me to have it brought into this discussion.
So , yes, I see the rainbow is a "selfing-phenomenon".

So you have looked and saw a body (or to be a little more accurate, you saw what can be seen when looking to what we call body - if I look, what I see are hands, clothed harms, some hair, nothing more), you also saw thoughts. And sensations could be felt, I suppose.
Would you say that what can be seen/perceive can't be the self?
No I cant say that :-( .
It's all part of the pieces that make up "self".
OTOH, I realize I answer this way because I "believe this". Just looking, there is no self to see.
BUT: just because I can't see something, doesn't mean it's not there.
All the millions of events/objects happening to make my body run. I don't see them, but surely they are there.
If you look around, is it clear there is no self in sight? No "outside" self?
I don't know what you mean by an "outside" self.
What do you see when you look? Can you describe what you notice going on right now?
Cool air blowing from fan. Light of PC monitor. Feel on fingers of keyboard. Taste in mouth from toothpaste. '
Looked at my wife, felt emotion of warmth rising. Thought of a meeting I have later today: feel stomach tightening.
When I just look, its the six senses.

- Lew

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Canfora
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Re: Requesting a Guide

Postby Canfora » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:23 pm

just because I can't see something, doesn't mean it's not there.
There where? Where would you say this self is located?

Right now a hand can be seen. Would you say an unseen self is seeing the hand?


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