SelfingStrong

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EMWBerry
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SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:29 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I am able to understand this intellectually and have had momentary glimpses of it on occasion, but when I am caught up in the day to day experiences of life, I identify with this fall sense of self. It is literally weaved into everything and I try to “look” as often as possible but it’s constant. I can see how attached to thoughts I am.

What are you looking for at LU?
I would love to have someone experienced help me to see through this illusion. I have spent the majority of my life trying to protect, advance, make better, heal, worrying about, etc...this thing that isn’t actually real. It’s exhausting. And I have had a lot of suffering which seems so silly at this point. I have read the book, watched videos and poured over many, many threads of people being guided through this process and so much of it resonates but still, I have not been able to see it on my own.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?

I’m hoping that through a guided conversation, someone would be able to identify where I’m stumbling and point me in the right direction. I know it comes down to looking at direct experience and it seems that many people have been able to do this but for some reason, I think I may be missing something.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?

I really don’t have a formal spiritual practice. I was raised Catholic if that means anything. I can remember about 10 years ago having a strong desire to know my true self whatever that even meant. It just felt like there was something really off and somehow the way I was living was not authentic. That was the start of seeking I guess. Lots of online searching which is how I ended up here. I will say that I had some trauma at the age of 10 when I witnessed my dad die of a severe heart attack. It was just two of us there. I had some PTSD after that and a few dissociative episodes....if I was feeling overwhelmed, I would get very spacey and feel really out of it. Didn’t last long but lots of anxiety and depression after that. And a lot of suffering too. BUT. From the outside looking in, I’m not sure anyone really knew, and I’ve had a relatively normal life, in the sense that even though I felt really shitty, I wasn’t debilitated. I’ve been able to do what I’ve needed to do.

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

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:14 am

Hi Berry,

My name is Dave, and I live in Japan.

If you are still looking for a guide, I would be happy to work with you.

Please let me know that you have read the FAQ section of the LU website, especially "what LU is not", and let me know if you are able to commit to a (by and large) daily dialogue, and we can begin.

Oh - and let me know how you would like me to address you. Is Berry okay?

All good wishes,
Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:13 pm

Hello Dave,
Thanks so much for the reply! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to me. You can call me Lisa.

Yes, I have read the FAQ and I am able to commit to posting daily. (I’m headed out of town this weekend but otherwise readily available.).

Looking forward to starting the process :)

Lisa

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:16 pm

A pleasure to meet you Lisa!

A couple more things - please put aside any reading or videos or whatever related to "seeking" (meditation practice, if you have one, is fine). Let's focus our energies on what you actually find when looking at experience during this process.

Please also, answer as honestly as you can what appears to be the case when you look. This is not always as easy as it sounds, but on the whole bring yourself back to what you can verify as opposed to speculation.

Okay? Let's begin.

What are you looking for as a result in this process? How will you know it has been found?

Answer the questions as honestly as you can what seems true for you at the moment.

All good wishes,
Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:18 pm

Hi Dave,
OK, sounds good.

As a result of this process, I would like to see through the illusion of a self. I think I have a grasp of it intellectually and I truly can’t seem to find a self but in my day-to-day living, it still feels like it’s there. It feels like I need to protect this thing and defend it and have control. I guess I would know I have seen through it, when I no longer believe in it. I don’t expect it to go away, but I think I would no longer be fooled by it.

Lisa

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Hi Lisa,

Great answers... So:
I think I have a grasp of it intellectually and I truly can’t seem to find a self but in my day-to-day living, it still feels like it’s there.
What does this feeling of having a self actually consist of? Is it felt in the body? Or is it more like a bunch of thoughts? Or a bit of both? Or something else?
It feels like I need to protect this thing and defend it and have control.
Is there currently a sense of control?
What thoughts/feelings can you describe when you consider the prospect of truly seeing that there is nothing to protect or defend?


Please try using the quote function when indicating the section of our thread you are responding to. Instruction for using it are here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

I look forward to your response!
Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:48 am

What does this feeling of having a self actually consist of? Is it felt in the body? Or is it more like a bunch of thoughts? Or a bit of both? Or something else?
It is a bit of both and it sometimes feels different at different times. Overall I would describe it almost as an invisible stickiness that thoughts and emotions cling to...a sense of a self that exists mostly in the head but can sometimes radiate down towards the chest. If I am just sitting here with nothing going on really and I ask the question, where is the I, it feels like it's located in the head between the eyes, as if I were some sort of entity looking out into the world. But, in an emotionally charged situation (was speaking to someone on the phone not too long ago and was getting frustrated), that sense of self is still in the head but is also felt in the upper chest area.
Is there currently a sense of control?
What thoughts/feelings can you describe when you consider the prospect of truly seeing that there is nothing to protect or defend?
I feel like there is so much that is out of my control...a car breaks down, weather, illness, death, things other people say or do, there is an endless list here. I had a situation with my daughter last year where I distinctly remember saying to myself, there is literally nothing I can do or say here to control the outcome of how this goes. There was very much a feeling of no control. That said, there are certain instances where I do feel like I'm in control. For example, we ran out of milk today. It felt like I was in control of making the decision to go to the store, drive myself there, buy the milk, etc. It felt like I was doing it and in control of it.
When I consider the prospect of of seeing there is nothing to protect and defend, there is definitely a sense of relief and also amazement - like, can this really be true? And also, how silly that I've spent my whole life protecting and defending something that doesn't exist. Would love to put that energy towards something else. There is also some fear there, that if I don't protect and defend, who will so that? And would things fall apart?

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:18 pm

Hi Lisa,
Overall I would describe it almost as an invisible stickiness that thoughts and emotions cling to..
Can you clarify: can this "invisible stickiness" be found that thoughts and emotions cling to?

If it remains invisible, then can you say there are only thoughts and emotions to be found? Is there anything else appearing?

All good wishes,
Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:50 pm

Hi Dave,
Can you clarify: can this "invisible stickiness" be found that thoughts and emotions cling to?
Ha! I figured this question was coming. No, it cannot be found.
If it remains invisible, then can you say there are only thoughts and emotions to be found? Is there anything else appearing
? Yes, only thoughts and emotions (or bodily sensations) can be found. Specifically a thought that says they belong to me. And because I’m aware of them they must be mine as I’m not aware of other people’s thoughts or emotions.

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:50 pm

Hi Lisa,

Wonderful answers. So to sum up, there appear to be thoughts, emotions, sensations that are described as this "stickiness", clinging to something that cannot be found, other than more thoughts that label them as "mine"? Is that about right?

Rest assured we will look into thoughts, emotions and sensation as we move through the investigation. But for now, I want to look at something else you said:
When I consider the prospect of of seeing there is nothing to protect and defend, there is definitely a sense of relief and also amazement - like, can this really be true? And also, how silly that I've spent my whole life protecting and defending something that doesn't exist. Would love to put that energy towards something else. There is also some fear there, that if I don't protect and defend, who will so that? And would things fall apart?
If there is no control, no self, and therefore nothing to protect or defend, how could things fall apart? There never was one to protect or defend in the first place.

Take the following in as fully as you can. I am not asking you to believe it. It may not be that it is not seen, yet. However, I'd like you to "try it on for size" for a while. See what it would be like if it were seen incontrovertibly to be true:

There is no I at all, no separate from life being. No manager, driver, witness, ghost in the machine, puppet master, etc. None as in zero.
There is one life, aliveness, consciousness.

Write what shows up.


With all good wishes,
Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:58 pm

Hi Dave,
So to sum up, there appear to be thoughts, emotions, sensations that are described as this "stickiness", clinging to something that cannot be found, other than more thoughts that label them as "mine"? Is that about right?
Yes, that is accurate.
If there is no control, no self, and therefore nothing to protect or defend, how could things fall apart? There never was one to protect or defend in the first place.
Ok, I see what you mean. If it's working fine without a self anyway, then there is nothing really to worry about here.
There is no I at all, no separate from life being. No manager, driver, witness, ghost in the machine, puppet master, etc. None as in zero. There is one life, aliveness, consciousness. Write what shows up
I tried to let this sink in yesterday and overnight. If I'm honest, the initial thing that pops up is resistance. I think if you've believed something for so long, it's hard to see it in a different way. I do get the sense too when I read those words that there needs to be some letting go and almost immediately after that there's a tightening in response. The other piece I struggled with was the "witness". It does feel like there is a witness but it gets a little murky here. It seems that life is happening and I am aware of it. Most of the time it feels as if I am separate and witnessing things although there have been times where everything feels as one. I hope that is not too confusing.

I am headed away for the weekend and might not be able to respond in a timely manner. Hope that is ok. I should be able to respond by Sunday though. Have a great weekend - looking forward to your response.

Lisa

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:44 am

Hi Lisa,
I tried to let this sink in yesterday and overnight. If I'm honest, the initial thing that pops up is resistance.
Can you describe what this resistance actually consists of? Is it felt in the body (sensation)? What tells you this sensation is resistance? What is the mental story about this resistance?
The other piece I struggled with was the "witness". It does feel like there is a witness but it gets a little murky here. It seems that life is happening and I am aware of it. Most of the time it feels as if I am separate and witnessing things although there have been times where everything feels as one.
Where does this witness appear to reside?

Try this experiment. Close your eyes for a moment. Settle in to the lack of sight or "blackness" that is experienced. Now open them. Before thought chimes in, what is it that is experienced in sight? Is there something separate from sight, seeing colour? To put it another way, is there seeing and a seer? Or is actually only seeing experienced, and thoughts saying there must be both?

Let me know how you get on.

All good wishes,
Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:43 pm

Hi Dave,
Sorry for the delay.
Can you describe what this resistance actually consists of? Is it felt in the body (sensation)? What tells you this sensation is resistance? What is the mental story about this resistance?
It consists of bodily sensations and thought. I feel a general tightness in my abdomen/chest area. And it's accompanied by thoughts which say, this is too simple to be true. You have believed in a self your whole life, there is no way you will grasp this. If the self is just a bunch of thoughts really, then why does it feel so heavy sometimes. And there is fear, like i mentioned earlier, that I will not be protected without a self.
Where does this witness appear to reside?
It appears to reside behind my eyes in the head area.
Try this experiment. Close your eyes for a moment. Settle in to the lack of sight or "blackness" that is experienced. Now open them. Before thought chimes in, what is it that is experienced in sight? Is there something separate from sight, seeing colour? To put it another way, is there seeing and a seer? Or is actually only seeing experienced, and thoughts saying there must be both?
So in doing this experiment, I just notice seeing, not both a seer and seeing. Seeing just happens. I have also noticed this at other times during the day where the supposed seer seems to disappear when there are no thoughts. I especially notice it if I'm outdoors. It's similar to when I first wake up in the morning.

Lisa

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DrWilko
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby DrWilko » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:08 am

Hi Lisa,
So in doing this experiment, I just notice seeing, not both a seer and seeing. Seeing just happens. I have also noticed this at other times during the day where the supposed seer seems to disappear when there are no thoughts. I especially notice it if I'm outdoors. It's similar to when I first wake up in the morning.
Great observations. So if this is the case with seeing - is this also the case with, for example, hearing? Try it - eyes closed again. Relax, settle into sound as it appears. Is there sound and hearing, or just hearing? Is there hearing and a hearer, or just hearing? What is it that is identifying sound as separate things? Is there a boundary between them, or between sound and hearer? If so where?

On resistance/fear:
It consists of bodily sensations and thought. I feel a general tightness in my abdomen/chest area.
Does a general tightness itself know "resistance"? Or are they simply sensations?
And it's accompanied by thoughts which say, this is too simple to be true.
Do these thoughts, in themselves, know anything of "resistance"? Or are they simply stories?

Is resistance an actual experience, or simply a concept, more thoughts?

That is not to say they are not real thoughts. Thoughts are real thoughts. Sensation is real sensation. But the habit that puts this together, creating a story - is that real or purely more thought, habit, story, go to narrative?

As we go through this investigation, if resistance or fear is experienced, as much as possible relax into it. Close your eyes. Breathe. Relax. Where is the sensation? Does this sensation itself know fear? Notice the thoughts. Are these thoughts themselves fear? Yes, the sensation is there, the thoughts are there - but is there actually fear of anything?
Where does this witness appear to reside?
It appears to reside behind my eyes in the head area.
Location is something we will come back to. But for now, try this:

Close your eyes. Tune in to sensation for a while. Any sensation of contact with chair, atmosphere on skin, whatever. Is a "witness" whether it's in the head or anywhere, necessary to experience sensations? Or are sensations known without this witness?

Let me know how you get on with that.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Dave

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EMWBerry
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Re: SelfingStrong

Postby EMWBerry » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:34 pm

Hi Dave,
So if this is the case with seeing - is this also the case with, for example, hearing? Try it - eyes closed again. Relax, settle into sound as it appears. Is there sound and hearing, or just hearing? Is there hearing and a hearer, or just hearing? What is it that is identifying sound as separate things? Is there a boundary between them, or between sound and hearer? If so where?
The first question here was confusing for a moment. Initially I wanted to reply that there was both sound and hearing, almost like hearing is on all of the time just waiting to pick up sound. Then it seemed that there was just sound. But after looking for a bit, I don't experience hearing separate from sound. They occur together. There is no separation between the two, just the one thing. And the same is true for the next question. No hearing and hearer, just hearing. (I found it easier to recognize this with hearing as opposed to seeing.) Definitely no boundary between them. Thought it was identifies the sounds or labels them as things.
Does a general tightness itself know "resistance"? Or are they simply sensations?
There is nothing about tightness itself that says resistance. It is just a sensation. I think I have felt that same sensation before with "excitement'.
Do these thoughts, in themselves, know anything of "resistance"? Or are they simply stories?

No, it is definitely a story that accompanies the sensation. Have never thought to question it, as the thoughts just come, and I have always assumed they are true.
That is not to say they are not real thoughts. Thoughts are real thoughts. Sensation is real sensation. But the habit that puts this together, creating a story - is that real or purely more thought, habit, story, go to narrative?
I definitely get hung up here and I'm not sure if I'm being dense but I'm not 100% convinced that the story isn't true. I can see how there are certain thoughts that are completely pointless, stories that aren't true but then there are other thoughts that I think I should pay attention to, ones that seem more real.
As we go through this investigation, if resistance or fear is experienced, as much as possible relax into it. Close your eyes. Breathe. Relax. Where is the sensation? Does this sensation itself know fear? Notice the thoughts. Are these thoughts themselves fear? Yes, the sensation is there, the thoughts are there - but is there actually fear of anything?
I tried this earlier today. I get anxious when driving on the highway sometimes. I felt a burning sensation in my belly although when I really focused on it, it was very hard to say exactly where it was, or if it was even in the body. It was just there. The sensation itself does not know fear. But then the thoughts come in like this is dangerous, what if i can't do this and it's difficult to answer that last question is there fear of anything. It feels like there is fear of an imagined scenario which is a thought. I can see that fear is a story. So bodily sensations accompanied by thoughts about thought. This is frustrating because it feels real. Sorry, I'm not sure if I'm getting it.

Thank you for your patience!
Lisa


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