request to help the search end

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Ilsa
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request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:48 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I read the gateless gatecrashers book and some treads on the forum. I understand that it is a system of questions to direct you back at direct experience instead of mindmade stories about that experience. By doing this you start to see/experience, not from intellectual understanding, that there is no self, no I separate from life. No I in control.

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking for help to really see it. The seeking for what is missing has been really strong during the last couple of weeks. When I discovered the LU website through some synchronicities, I felt that this could be the last step to freedom, to contentment, to no more searching. I'm tired of searching... I wanna be done with it...

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
expect the conversation to direct me back to experience when I go off into stories or intellectual bypassing. I expect it to give me a reason to stick with it the inquiry even when I get frustrated and want to give up, it's a commitment that has to be honored. I expect it to guide me through the process until the seeing is really clear, until there is no doubt anymore.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I'm practicing Qigong for more than three years daily which made that I'm much less ractive, more open to what is happening, putting less layers of stories on top of the experience. Less “this should not be happening...” I read quite some books on advaita (Jeff Foster, Amoda Maa Jeevan, Mooji,...) They resonate but it feels more like a intellectual understanding than a real one. I had some meditation practice but on and off.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?:
10

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:58 pm

Hi Ilsa

Welcome to LU. I would be happy to help you with your inquiry.

You mentioned Direct Experience and that is indeed the key to all "your" problems. Well, the sort of problems we sort here anyway :)
For starters, how is Direct Experience working for you? Do you fully grasp how it works or would you like to talk about it?

Is there an "I" in DE?



Andrei

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:43 am

Hi Andrei,

Thank you. I'm very happy to have you as my guide and I'm excited for this journey.
how is Direct Experience working for you? Do you fully grasp how it works or would you like to talk about it?

Is there an "I" in DE?
It's difficult to judge yourself so let me share this and then you can see how much I grasp it.
Sitting crosslegged on the floor, typing this answer, sensation of pressure on the feet, sensations of movement of the fingers over the keyboard. Thoughts popping up one after another, sometimes fast, sometimes there is a gap. Breathing happening, speed is variable. Reading what is written, rewriting it, deleting parts, thinking some more... but no, I cannot find an “I” doing all this. It is just happening.

However there is that nagging question that asks: “But who/what is it that can see all this?” Something (?) has to make the thoughts pop up, is aware of its popping up, is aware of its content. And that all at the same time... So what is that? Trying to look deeper: I'm getting frustrated, I don't understand, what am I missing here? There has to be something that is doing all this? Then suddenly laughing: No I getting frustrated, just sensations in the body happening, some tensing of muscles around the stomach area, some heat rising. That's all... Relaxing.

Another thing that is happening is the fear for the unknown. On one side it feels comfortable to just surrender to whatever is happening. On the other side, there is a “but, but, but,... what about your plans, what about your goals, what about...? How can people rely on you?” It's actually amazing how some moments after these thoughts pop up, it's now seen that they are just thoughts. Then another thought: “Is there a you in control?” No! “Was there ever a you in control?” No, Life took care of everything before, and it will take care of that until my last breath has been blown out... But somehow that still feels scary...

That's it for now.
Ilsa

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:28 am

That explanation is pretty neat and no worries, we will talk about everything, including fears and doubts and anything else.

Sitting crosslegged on the floor, typing this answer, sensation of pressure on the feet, sensations of movement of the fingers over the keyboard. Thoughts popping up one after another, sometimes fast, sometimes there is a gap.
You have a good grasp of what DE entails.
DE is the original input one gets through SENSATIONS and SENSES, that tension you feel in your arm before labelling it as good (a tickle) or bad (a burn), the noise you hear before you interpret it as coming from a vehicle or elsewhere. DE is what is, prior to any sort of interpretations done by the mind.

I cannot find an “I” doing all this. It is just happening.
Perfect.

“But who/what is it that can see all this?” Something (?) has to make the thoughts pop up, is aware of its popping up, is aware of its content.
At least let's find out if YOU have anything to do with it. Can you think and choose a thought right now?

And second, is there "somebody" being aware of stuff appearing or does awareness simply happen?

Another thing that is happening is the fear for the unknown.
I want you to bring on your mind screen the scariest scenario you can think of. Let the emotion of fear permeate you and then just stay with it and observe it (DE basically).
Is there an actual "fear" happening or is it a sensation + label.
Can that sensation harm you in any way?
Is fear happening to "you" or is it just happening?

By just watching it, doesn't a feeling of love and compassion arises for the fear and the worries? (A feeling loving another feeling. That might not make much senses haha).

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:24 am

Hi Andrei,

Thanks for the clarification and the reassurance.
At least let's find out if YOU have anything to do with it. Can you think and choose a thought right now?
No, I cannot choose the thought I think right now. Your question leads to thoughts appearing but I can not choose which ones are appearing. How can I choose when the first thought is: "hmm, can I choose and which one would I choose?" Oops that was a thought already and I didn't choose that haha.
And second, is there "somebody" being aware of stuff appearing or does awareness simply happen?
It feels a bit like both... awareness is simply happening but there is something beyond (I don't have the words to explain this...) that is being aware too... Reading my own words, it doesn't seem to make sense... Confusion is here now. Am I confused? or is it again just sensations and labelling. Damn, it is all sensation and labelling!
Is there an actual "fear" happening or is it a sensation + label.
Can that sensation harm you in any way?
Is fear happening to "you" or is it just happening?
It's just a bunch of sensations (contraction in the lower belly, shallowing of breath, fast beating of the heart) that is labelled fear. No, these sensations cannot harm me in any way, they are just sensations. It is just happening, they come up, they stay a while in various strength and they dissappear again. No harm done.
doesn't a feeling of love and compassion arises for the fear and the worries?
hmmm, not really..., there is a feeling of curiosity and one of relieve that the automatic reaction of rejection (I don't want to feel like this) is absent. Maybe the love and compassion is a next stage :-)

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:57 am

Oops that was a thought already and I didn't choose that haha.
LOL

awareness is simply happening but there is something beyond (I don't have the words to explain this...) that is being aware too... Reading my own words, it doesn't seem to make sense... Confusion is here now. Am I confused? or is it again just sensations and labelling. Damn, it is all sensation and labelling!
Don't be afraid to just let go. Nothing wrong with being a bit soft in the head every now and then. Or most of the times like in my case :))

Ok, so there seems to be something beyond awareness. Actually I kinda feel it too now that you mention it.
Question is, is there anything "personal" in that beyond-the-awareness thingie?

See. When you reach a blockage, don't stop. Keep at it. Dismantle everything until there is nothing left. Nothing and Everything.

there is a feeling of curiosity and one of relieve that the automatic reaction of rejection (I don't want to feel like this) is absent. Maybe the love and compassion is a next stage :-)
That's it.
If I was to tell you that you do not exist, that there is no you, would any tension or fear still arise?

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:33 pm

Question is, is there anything "personal" in that beyond-the-awareness thingie?
no, nothing personal, nothing to do with "me". It feels like it is much more than personal, like personal is just a small part of it...like it allows personal. This is so hard to capture in words...
Dismantle everything
Do you mean, go back to DE? Get out of the content of thoughts and just sense?
If I was to tell you that you do not exist, that there is no you, would any tension or fear still arise?
I have been pondering on this one while having dinner, while talking with strangers, while bicycling, even now while writing this answer... The only answer for now is no, no fear, no tension. Everything is just happening. There is some kind of ... can I say detachment?... things are going on, mind can be quiet or screaming loud but it doesn't matter at all, things just go their own way. Sometimes there is some kind of simultaneous observing/awareness of all that is going on and sometimes not.

With the seeing that there is no "I", that everything is just happening, new questions come up. Especially in relation to others. What does interaction between two people mean? And what about arguments, words that bring up feelings of hurt? I tried to look deeper but I gave up. It felt that it was useless to go there. It was just a mental exercise because at that moment nothing hurtfull was happening. And as with fear, hurt are just thougths and sensations, no harm done... Interesting... :-)

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:14 pm

It feels like it is much more than personal, like personal is just a small part of it...like it allows personal. This is so hard to capture in words...
Talking about stuff like this usually is, but I think I might know what you're saying: that that small "personal" thing turns into something much bigger like you are one with everything?

Do you mean, go back to DE? Get out of the content of thoughts and just sense?
Yes. There`s very likely that after our convo here you will meet unquestioned beliefs that come to light every now and then. The process might just be starting. It's not called the "gate" because you arrived. It's called the gate because you just started. Bummer, I know :D So, when that time comes, remember to go back to the senses/sensations prior to interpretation.

What does interaction between two people mean? And what about arguments, words that bring up feelings of hurt? I tried to look deeper but I gave up.
First of all, are the "others" different than you, as in they have a "self" and you don't? Or is interaction simply happening, ideas are exchanged, and sometimes even in a conflictual way? Do conflicts have a reason? Do wars happen because of something or do they just happen?

And, second of all, and this might be a tad bit more advanced than just seeing through the illusion of "the self" (first fetter), the hurt you're feeling when interacting with another might be a habitual reaction and that relates more to the 4&5 fetters ("desire" and "ill will") but you'll have to give me a concrete example of such a conflict to make sure we're on the same page.

But, from the point of view of our work here, yes, emotions just happen and they just want to make themselves heard.

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:39 am

like you are one with everything?
Yes, kinda, but only with what is in the DE field. I don't feel one with the whole world...
remember to go back to the senses/sensations prior to interpretation.
Thanks, I will do that
First of all, are the "others" different than you, as in they have a "self" and you don't? Or is interaction simply happening, ideas are exchanged, and sometimes even in a conflictual way?
No, others are not different in any way, they too don't have a self although that may not be seen yet. Interaction is simply happening. That was were I got stuck...If "my" life is happening, "their" life is happening, how then do we relate? Just by you pointing out that interaction is simply happening, there was that ahha-moment: "off course, so simple..." And yes, interaction can be in a conflictual way. Saw it happen two days ago, two men got into a fight because one hit the others motorbike. The fight started, it escalated, someone tried to separate them and then it dissolved.
[/Do conflicts have a reason? Do wars happen because of something or do they just happen?
quote]
The first thing that comes up is: "there has to be a reason for conflicts" but if I look deeper, their is none. Conflict is just happening and you could argue that it is because of certain circumstances, conditions, interactions between people but these are also just happening. If this is true for conflicts, the same has to be true for wars. So forget about striving for world peace... it will only happen when it happens... (writing this after breakfast from a place called peace cafe... hahaha... how coincidental...)
(first fetter),
How many fetters are there? What are they? Never heard of it... curious now.
you'll have to give me a concrete example of such a conflict to make sure we're on the same page.
Let's leave that for now, even in the example I was thinking of, my reaction was already different than before. Before I would have attacked back. Now there was just acknowlegding the hurt, breathing a couple of times and feeling compassion for what happened. Also gratitude and a bit of pride to have been able to stay calm :-)

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:45 am

Saw it happen two days ago, two men got into a fight because one hit the others motorbike. The fight started, it escalated, someone tried to separate them and then it dissolved.
:)) Yes "road rage" is a good example of what might not go away even if seen through the illusion of the "self". The habitual reactivity is so ingrained it has to be attended specifically.

How many fetters are there? What are they? Never heard of it... curious now.
In the Buddhist tradition there are 10 fetters/illusion one needs to see through in order to become awakened. It's not a clear road map though. All paths are different. Some might "wear" some fetters more loosely, others might have to really work it in order to see through.
The good thing is, this technique of DE can actually take you through all of them. One needs to simply pay attention to what life brings about.

Before I would have attacked back. Now there was just acknowlegding the hurt, breathing a couple of times and feeling compassion for what happened. Also gratitude and a bit of pride to have been able to stay calm
That sounds great :)

In DE, is there an "I" that experiences stuff? Is there a watcher separate from the seen?

Also, is there a "self" that does stuff, controls anything, does daily activities?

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:48 am

The good thing is, this technique of DE can actually take you through all of them. One needs to simply pay attention to what life brings about.
Happy to hear that. I like one technique for everything :-)
In DE, is there an "I" that experiences stuff? Is there a watcher separate from the seen?
I tried to find a watcher separate from the seen while looking at a bunch of banana leaves. I could not deduct where the seen ended and the watcher started... Mind came up with different theories, it felt as if my brain would burst (a lot of pressure in the head area) and then all of a sudden it went blank... Nothing, no thougths, just a couple of moments of emptiness... There was my answer... Nope, no watcher separate from the seen. No watcher who sees something, just seeing happening.
Also, is there a "self" that does stuff, controls anything, does daily activities?
Oh no, these things also just happen. Sometimes it does seem like it depends on conditions. Eg: feeling thirsty, hand reaches out to bottle of water and drinking is happening. Without feeling thirsty the drinking would not been happening. But then again, feeling thirsty is also just happening... maybe depending on the salty food i've eaten. Is this the interdependence Bhuddism talks about? Nothing really exists without anything else?,

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:11 am

Is this the interdependence Buddhism talks about? Nothing really exists without anything else?
Uhmm... maybe? :D
I guess it's the age old paradox: Nothing and Everything. Depending on the angle from where you're looking at IT you might see something or you might see nothing, and they are both true.

What about choices? Have you ever chosen anything, and I don't mean what to drink but even major paths you took in life like education, career, family?

Now, regarding the body. Is there any identification going on there? You could even go further and ask yourself if there really is a body.

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:47 am

What about choices? Have you ever chosen anything
It may look like I did but if I look really into it? No, also these events just happened. I remember having to make the choice between "greek-latin" or "latin-maths". There was a lot of doubt, one day the scale tipped to one side, the other day to the other side. And then one certain day, it was decided it would be "latin-maths" Where did that decision come from? It just happened... Same as with the ending of my marriage. I would not have chosen that but it in hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened! It's very clear that I have not chosen anything ever!
Now, regarding the body. Is there any identification going on there?
This is a tricky one for me. I know and realize that the body is doing its thing without me having to do anything. Heart is beaten, breathing is going on, digestion is taking place. Everything... but because of qigong practice I do feel that I have a certain control over it... OK, back to DE! Is there an I practicing Qigong or is practicing just happening. Certainly practicing is just happening. If practicing is just happening, is there an I that has control over where and how to place the foot? Or is control over the placement just happening? Control is just happening... The form of this body has changed so much because of qigong practice but again looking at DE, there is no I involved... hah, I better put that pride over "my" achievement far away... I have nothing to do with it... Wow, so humbling...
ask yourself if there really is a body
Is there a body? What's a body? It's a label given to a form... It seems to be quite solid and it seems to have boundaries. All bodies look different but we still call it body. They all are having similar systems functioning (breathing, digesting, excreting,...) So yes, it looks like there is really a body.

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Andrei
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Andrei » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:38 pm

I very much like how things are unfolding for you. You seem very clear.
It feels like I don't even have to do anything :))

We're coming close to the end here. I still have a few final questions, but before that:

When the “I” has been seen through, fully and completely, what's left?

And ofc, if you have any questions yourself, let me know.

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Ilsa
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Re: request to help the search end

Postby Ilsa » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:54 pm

Thank you Andrei.
Sometimes holding the space for someone has more value than anyhing else... :-)
When the “I” has been seen through, fully and completely, what's left?
Uh... Nothing... and everything... Everyday business as usual. Ups and downs, good and bad feelings, peace and conflict, boredom and excitement, the usual stuff... but with less drama around it, less fight, less should and shouldn't... Just seeing things for what they are, happenings, Life in motion...

Already there is great curiosity. Where will all this lead to? However, no expectations... Somehow a knowing that it is all okay. If "me" can get out of the way... My qigong teacher said in one of my first classes: "Flow and you'll be surprised." I think I get it... :-D

For now, no questions but I'll definitely contact you in case I need help. Thank you sooooo much for your guidance!


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