Freedom from Alex...

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
s-p-a-c-e
Posts: 4114
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:37 pm

Hi Alex,

I'm noticing today how there is a compulsion to give 'myself' something to do. To be addicted to a subtle (and sometimes very unsubtle!) sense of urgency in the seeking, in the need to see through something. The need to have (construct) a self, in order to have a self to see through.

There is a different kind of spaciousness which comes through when I notice that I am trying to do this inquiry process, and I put it down and instead rest into the feeling of non-urgency and trust that the path will unfold in its own time. And yet I can't really allow that belief to permeate - I keep coming back to a need to do something; a need to be flawed in order to have something to do.

It's the same dynamic which we've discussed before. How to engage with the path when there is no path and no seeker, and yet if there is no engagement the assumptions of selfhood remain unquestioned. How much does it serve us to buy-in to the mythology that underlies my coming to LU? What if I tell myself a mythology of already-perfection and non-seperate-selfhood and rest into that storying instead?

Being a bear of little brain, I like to keep things as simple as possible, which is not to say it's simplistic. :)

So whatever the mythology about self/no-self, separation/non-separation, blah blah blah, what is comes down to is that each of us experience life - for want of a phrase - as a living persona, 'Alex', 'John'.

John does this, does that, thinks this, says that, likes this, hates that, wants to do this, avoids that - a living narrative of John, a living persona - aka, me.

If you consider your behaviours, they have a coherence to them, a regulation. What you do and eat and think on Tuesday, is not overly different from Wednesday. :) These regular ways of behaving are seen by others as you, your persona. They are seen by you, as expressions/actions of you, your persona.

Now, no one would deny that our behaviours are somewhat regular, and regulated through our upbringing.
And these behaviours have become entwined with the notion of my person/persona.

So, the assumption we carry around is that I am this person/persona. Nailed on. Most folk don't just believe this, but would swear on it.

Let's say we go, ok, so I'm not this person/persona.

There's a space there.

And we may go, what now? Or who am i then? etc.

But, looked at another way - thus far we've lived life with reference to a 'me' narrative. Once challenged, we are left living with reference to...? To what?

We have seen that our compass was a narrative compass.

This is time to have trust in life, to observe what occurs, without reference to narrative, and then with reference to narrative. "What's for breakfast?" being a useful narrative to reference.

So narrative is fine, we just happened to live through a particular self narrative, and then we don't so much.

Maybe explore...and share what shows up.

Much love,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:25 pm

Thank you. This is good :)
Let's say we go, ok, so I'm not this person/persona.

There's a space there.

And we may go, what now? Or who am i then? etc.

mmm yes this happens. I feel, to varying degrees of brevity, the relief, or spaciousness, or just the here-ness of life, when this space is allowed. And soon after that, the 'what now?' arises and gets filled with a something; a doing, or an observing, or a thinking. And then there is the thinking arising "am I making this about a self? am I still in spaciousness? how can I not be thinking these thoughts? am I closer to being awake?" etc etc and somehow I allow those comparison-based thoughts to re-make the self. I take myself to be that questioner.

Somehow the re-storying cannot just be left at 'lets eat breakfast' or whatever thought might pop up. The re-storying still includes a reference to I-me-mine. I can now see the potential to allow the 'doing' of a story to exist without needing a 'do-er' of the story. I was conflating 'having a story' with 'creating a self'. ha - I can (just about) write these sentences of "I can now see..." without needing to make that I actually an I. Ah language!

This is time to have trust in life, to observe what occurs, without reference to narrative, and then with reference to narrative. "What's for breakfast?" being a useful narrative to reference.

"Whats for breakfast?" can become an inquiry; a curiosity about the unfolding of the world. I am so used to the narrative needing an answer, needing the next part of the story to be filled in. By me. Maybe I can allow myself to just stay with this sentence of the narrative, to leave the question open and see what fills it. Right now "what's for breakfast?" is typing this into LU.

So, the assumption we carry around is that I am this person/persona. Nailed on. Most folk don't just believe this, but would swear on it.

I find that grasping onto their story by other people quite painful to be around. It consistently brings me back to my practice, the feeling of how painful it is to witness other people so strongly storying themselves. And yet in my reactivity, there is also this strong 'me' which is reacting; 'I' am wanting to not be like that, 'I' can't accept that way of being. So I come back to 'my' practice with 'my' story. reinforced by my reactivity. All very arse-about-tit, if you know that expression. And yet it is also just the narrative that is here. So maybe it'll do.

That all feels a bit garbled, but helpful at this end. thanks for your patience.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
s-p-a-c-e
Posts: 4114
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:05 am

Hi Alex,

Somehow the re-storying cannot just be left at 'lets eat breakfast' or whatever thought might pop up. The re-storying still includes a reference to I-me-mine. I can now see the potential to allow the 'doing' of a story to exist without needing a 'do-er' of the story. I was conflating 'having a story' with 'creating a self'. ha - I can (just about) write these sentences of "I can now see..." without needing to make that I actually an I. Ah language!

The self-as-narrative is a sneaky fucker, to use a technical term. :) Some may see this differently, want to push narrative away, or see narrative as unhelpful, but for me, the fun is in becoming more skilful around narrative, life narrative, self-narrative. For instance, let's say we treat ourselves as a light-touch narrative. So yes, we're in the story of a marriage, or a job, or a family, or a project, but light-touch. We could, of course, check out of narrative completely and live in a cave, am sure there's a website for that. :)

So, we're approaching narrative in a different way, a way of painting life, giving it structure when that's useful, and leaving off to experience the unbounded beauty of a toothpick.

So, you might explore the approach of gradations of lightness of touch with self-narrative, from heavy ALEX, all the way through to fine sketch lines.

Much love,
john
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:38 pm

Not much to report from the last couple of days. I seem to be fairly content in being engaged with the normal 'Alex' perspective, so I'm not bringing so much awareness to whether that identity is relevant or not.

So, you might explore the approach of gradations of lightness of touch with self-narrative, from heavy ALEX, all the way through to fine sketch lines.

Yes, this feels helpful. Although I am 'caught up' in the usual Alex mode of functioning, it doesn't feel so much like being 'caught up' as before - it seems that the storying is lighter; I can hold that mode more easefully. Or perhaps I'm just happier! Either way, it is more comfortable to see the lens of 'I' and accept that it is there, and trust that it doesn't have to be true forever.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:12 pm

Not much to report from the last couple of days. I seem to be fairly content in being engaged with the normal 'Alex' perspective, so I'm not bringing so much awareness to whether that identity is relevant or not.

So, you might explore the approach of gradations of lightness of touch with self-narrative, from heavy ALEX, all the way through to fine sketch lines.

Yes, this feels helpful. Although I am 'caught up' in the usual Alex mode of functioning, it doesn't feel so much like being 'caught up' as before - it seems that the storying is lighter; I can hold that mode more easefully. Or perhaps I'm just happier! Either way, it is more comfortable to see the lens of 'I' and accept that it is there, and trust that it doesn't have to be true forever.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
s-p-a-c-e
Posts: 4114
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:26 am

Hi Alex,

So, you might explore the approach of gradations of lightness of touch with self-narrative, from heavy ALEX, all the way through to fine sketch lines.

Yes, this feels helpful. Although I am 'caught up' in the usual Alex mode of functioning, it doesn't feel so much like being 'caught up' as before - it seems that the storying is lighter; I can hold that mode more easefully. Or perhaps I'm just happier! Either way, it is more comfortable to see the lens of 'I' and accept that it is there, and trust that it doesn't have to be true forever.

Cool. :) It's an observing skill you're getting more adept at - each time you get 'caught up', just notice - look and get a sense of the sketch you've played into. See that you're not that sketch. Observe the sketch for a little while after (or rather, observe any sense you have of a persona Alex, could be a subtle feeling, voice in the head, and so on) - not to get rid or push away etc, but to learn how this stuff operates.

Best wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:19 pm

learn how this stuff operates

I'm feeling more space around the thought-process, and the contractedness in general. I can see how they are habits which have been formed to support this organism as it navigates it's way through life - that desire, fear etc have their place to keep the body safe and well. So there is more allowing of the patterns to be there, to be what they are. And seeing that, they can be held more lightly.
look and get a sense of the sketch you've played into. See that you're not that sketch

Although it is seen to be a sketch, there is still the assumption that 'I' am this sketch, or when 'I' am finding that painful, that there is an 'I' that is somehow separate to the body-mind process, which is witnessing and finding it difficult to be stuck in 'me'. That feels like a recurring theme - the sense that 'I' am stuck in this body-mind, finding it painful to be this conditioning, to be stuck in the world. And so there should be an 'I' that exists free from the conditioning. That the unconditioned is something waiting for 'me' to have.
Observe the sketch for a little while after

When I notice the above, it is seen to be just another aspect of the self-sketch. This identity is build on the desire to awaken and be free from this conditioning. And I guess I'm comfortable with that identity; within the context of the sketch, it is serving this organism (?!). It manifests itself mostly as the storying that:
"I am not this contractedness, not this reactivity. I am something free-er than this."
Which serves as an antidote to the habits that identify with the contractions in the body and the ego-reactions to others.
And that's 'my' persona. Still playing itself out. And, I trust, winding itself down in the face of this inquiry.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:44 pm

Hello again. Sorry for the delay - first busy, and now not got much to say. Sometimes I'm remembering to check in with the storying. I notice the labelling of 'I' and can see that there isn't much behind it other than the label. There is more freedom around that. But it doesn't seem to GO anywhere. Which is also fine. There is less need for that. Or rather, I can see the neediness as just another part of the story. So there is storying going on, and awareness that it is storying.

I still get 'hooked in' to emotions, more so than thoughts now. They absorb me and awareness shrinks down. I guess I can't use thoughts to bolster the sense of self so much anymore, so the ego uses emotions to do it. And if I look for who it is that ego is, I can't see it and so am free just to feel the emotion. But still there is the sense that it is 'my' emotion. Me against the world etc etc.

So life is going on, and there is more ease in the inquiry process, but the lightbulb moment isn't there. There is still some fundamental assumption of selfhood which isn't being seen (because it's not there!!) and yet perpetuates. Ho hum.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:45 am

The last couple of days I have been noticing how story keeps cropping up, but that there is always the choice to remain with 'the world' of sense impressions rather than to give precedence to the thoughts. And those sense impressions are gradually becoming more full - less inhibited by story and image. So there is continuing to be more space around the images of 'myself'.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
s-p-a-c-e
Posts: 4114
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:49 pm

Hi Alex,

There is still some fundamental assumption of selfhood which isn't being seen (because it's not there!!) and yet perpetuates. Ho hum.

Let's bring this 'selfhood assumption' into words as it is for you.

Complete the following...

I have been assuming that...
I have been assuming that...
I have been assuming that...

Let each version evolve until the words hit the spot.

Ta,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:08 pm

I notice that my thoughts keep coming back to a general feeling that revolve around these assumptions:
I have been assuming that...
... life is difficult and I must protect myself against it
... that I must do something; must 'do' my life
... that I must make progress, make this self into something better, healthier, more free

And then at other times it's less specific than that. More like
I have been assuming that...
... there is an 'in here' which I call 'myself'.

It's been a helpful inquiry - it helps highlight for me that each of these assumptions rests on a myriad other assumptions. There is a loosening of the images which these assumptions create.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
s-p-a-c-e
Posts: 4114
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:29 pm

Hi Alex,

I have been assuming that...
... life is difficult and I must protect myself against it
... that I must do something; must 'do' my life
... that I must make progress, make this self into something better, healthier, more free

And then at other times it's less specific than that. More like
I have been assuming that...
... there is an 'in here' which I call 'myself'.

It's been a helpful inquiry - it helps highlight for me that each of these assumptions rests on a myriad other assumptions. There is a loosening of the images which these assumptions create.

Good work. Probably most folk would read those assumptions and agree with them. :)

What's interesting with respect to the sense of my-self, is that my-self is part and parcel of a narrative ecosystem.
Each of these assumptions are what my-self should do, be.

Question is: without this narrative, what is my-self, really?

Without this narrative does my-self exist in the way it has?

To explore.

warm wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:35 pm

without this narrative, what is my-self, really?
I don't know! what can be known without narrative? It seems that there is nothing to express from this place of 'without narrative.' When I am dwelling within in, there is no my-self. There is sensation, and impression, and even thinking. But no my-self. And that void is so unusual for my cognition, the mind jumps back into narrative in order to fill up that gap. Which is just another part of the game, but it is so familiar that the habit of identifying with it continues.


BTW, I am going walking for the next couple of months and so will be in connectivity much more rarely. I would like to continue with this inquiry if that's OK with you, and will be working with letting go of story anyway, but my guess is that posting won't happen any more regularly than once a week, and perhaps for longer periods I won't be online at all.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan

User avatar
s-p-a-c-e
Posts: 4114
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:37 pm

Hey Alex,

When I am dwelling within in, there is no my-self.

Here's a place to shine some light on. We need to be very clear what is meant by 'my-self' such that you seem to have declared its absence. What I mean is, this term and terms like it, are often used in a fuzzy way, and we say 'no self was found' for example, but are never quite clear as to what that means.

For example, if you say I looked at home for the cat but there was no cat. That's fine, because you know what a cat looks like. But how do we declare the absence of something we don't even know of, or haven't seen?

The best we can say, right now, is that what I have taken my-self to be: for example, a sense of being behind the eyes, the voice in the head, a familiar feeling in the chest/gut; all of that, when I examine it, doesn't seem to be the place of agency, because the thing that makes my-self special, is agency.

Something to reflect on as you walk. :)

BTW, I am going walking for the next couple of months and so will be in connectivity much more rarely. I would like to continue with this inquiry if that's OK with you, and will be working with letting go of story anyway, but my guess is that posting won't happen any more regularly than once a week, and perhaps for longer periods I won't be online at all.

No worries, just post as and when. Enjoy the walking. :)

best wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Icarus
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:28 pm

Re: Freedom from Alex...

Postby Icarus » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:47 pm

Hello again. It's been good for me to be away from internet for a while; hence the quietness. I've been pondering some of your pointers as I walk and camp. So, where are we with it now:

We need to be very clear what is meant by 'my-self' such that you seem to have declared its absence. What I mean is, this term and terms like it, are often used in a fuzzy way, and we say 'no self was found' for example, but are never quite clear as to what that means.

hmmm yes. There is sometimes a feeling of being less separate from the 'outside' world; that the normal boundaries are fallen away. And there is a preference for that state - a thought that it is more 'non-self' than when I identify with the boundaried state. Although fundamentally the same (non-)boundaries are still present, it is just that that mind has stopped labelling things as 'self' and 'not-self'. So there is an association of this state of being non-self with the relative proliferation of the mind stories about it.

how do we declare the absence of something we don't even know of, or haven't seen?

I suppose there is still the fundamental belief that I DO know of the self; I have seen it, because there is this experience of separation which I take to be real; I take to be myself. And I know that, because there are other experiences which feel less separate.

I guess I could say that I experience two modes (the experience seems to be on a spectrum rather than modal, but still it feels real to separate them like this);
- Identification with the labelling of self, including the story that self wants to wake up
- Non-identification with the labelling process, whether it happens to be there or not

The more 'I' reside in the second mode the closer I feel to it becoming the primary mode, or rather the easier it becomes not to slide into the first mode. But there is still this sense of an I that returns to the first mode. What is that sense? Ha! Maybe a temporal story, which references this self which existed earlier, and will exist again. That story is a strong habit still.

the thing that makes my-self special, is agency

hmm yes, sometimes. I think more so for me the thing that makes this ME, is that it is (I am) aware, that it witnesses. The agency comes and goes, the surrender comes and goes, and there is a feeling that this emanates from this witness ME, rather than that it arises within the witnessing. Thought says "this witnessing is ME, and I think such and such about it" and sometimes those thoughts are believed and off they go into desire and aversion and dhukka, and sometimes not.
...then the moon and flowers will guide you along the Way -- Ryokan


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest