Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

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SterlingM
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Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:40 am

I opened my account with Liberation Unleashed in July 2015 and was grateful
to be guided for 5 months through the process. In November of that year
however I became ill, and as a result I abruptly stopped communicating
with my guide. It was always my intention to resume the process, but I felt
so embarrassed / ashamed about cutting off my guide without a word of
explanation (however inadvertently) that the longer I left it, the harder
it got to get back in touch and at least apologise for my sudden
disappearance and apparent ingratitude.

With that said, if it's deemed acceptable I would now like to resume
the process and give it my full commitment. I am in good health
and can offer my absolute assurance of consistency from now on.

With regard to where I am in terms of 'seeing': Intellectually I arrived at
the understanding that Self is a construct during my prior discourse with my LU,
although I was experiencing an oppressively tangled, seemingly impenetrable
'down the rabbit hole' feeling intellectually by the time of my last exchange with my guide.
I was going round in circles, screwing myself into the ground with abstruse intellectualisation that was just baffling me.

And, I have still not 'seen' the truth. As a result of this incomplete journey I've felt like
I've been in a kind of existential limbo for the past few years. This has
left me not nihilistic exactly, but certainly not fully engaged with life on
a certain level; kind of 'half cooked' and with an underlying sense of futility. There's major unfinished business
here that I want to attack with a fresh mind and outlook. I need to pick things up again where I left off--or perhaps, from the beginning again. I regret and apologise for my apparent rudeness in 2015 and I hope it won't preclude me resuming now.

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SterlingM
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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu May 02, 2019 7:07 pm

I left out something important from the above post: A big change has taken place attitudinally since I left off this enquiry 3 1/2 years ago. The 'critical mass' of over-intellectualisation I was going through and which I mentioned above has, in the interim, given way to a clearer understanding that what this is about is direct experience. Reading back on my earlier posts, it's eyebrow-raising to see what a froth I was getting into. While I'm not at the Gate yet - which is to say, thoughts arise containing that information - I'm geared to looking now, not conceptualising. Which isn't to say the latter isn't still slipping through the net though, along with 'sense of Self'.

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Mon May 06, 2019 9:02 am

Hi Sterling,

My name is Kay, and I am happy to assist you in exploring the idea of the separate self. Although you have already had a taste of guiding etc...I will you start from the beginning as if this is your first time.

At LU we are described as guides - not teachers - as our role is to directly point to what IS, through the use of exercises and questions. Your role is to LOOK carefully to what is being pointed at. It is this simple LOOKING (not thinking) that brings the realisation that there is no separate self and never has been. This is an experiential based guiding and is not a discussion or a debate.

Here are links to information I would like you to read before we begin.

Disclaimer:-

http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Terms & Conditions:-

https://www.liberationunleashed.com/register/terms/


“Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU.

http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041


Please learn to use the quote function. When replying to a question, please use the quote function to highlight the question being answered. Instructions are located in the link below:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

Please confirm that you have read the disclaimer and the other links and we can then begin the exploration.

Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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SterlingM
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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Mon May 06, 2019 7:15 pm

Hi Kay

It's great to hear from you. Thank you so much for offering to guide me through the process. I'm sincerely grateful, and very much ready to engage with it and with you. Regarding your suggestion of starting afresh, yes, I'm 100% with you on that.

I won't include any thoughts or details in this specific post but, needless to say, I'll answer any and all questions honestly from here on in and be fully attentive to the work. The only thing I'll say for now is that—with relevant considerations about labelling in mind, of course!—Sterling is just my forum name, so please feel free to call me Glenn instead.

Best wishes

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Mon May 06, 2019 7:16 pm

PS - And yes, I've read the disclaimer and links!

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Tue May 07, 2019 12:36 am

Hi Glenn,

Thank you for reading the links, including the disclaimer and learning how to use the quote function. Thank you also for willing to be open and curious with this exploration and for being willing to look at what is being pointed to.

Some housekeeping guidelines:-
1. Post at least once a day, or every second day. If you need more time, or are unable to post for several days, just write a quick post on your thread to let me know please.

2. Please answer what's true for you once you have looked to see what is being pointed at, rather than any sort of 'ideal' answer. Ideal answers may sound good but will be of no benefit to you in having you realise that there is no separate self. There is no one judging answers given, so please be100% honest in your answers and inquiry.

3. This exploration is based on actual experience (AE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour and observed thoughts. Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process. There is no ‘self’ to improve.

4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, rituals, practices, books/reading and so on for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily meditation practice, it is fine to continue that but is not necessary for this exploration. Be here with an open and curious mind.

Technology is not perfect and sometimes there is a glitch which can wipe out your responses. It is advisable that you copy and paste questions asked into Word, answer them there and then copy and paste them to your thread. Always save a copy of what you have done in Word - it will save you time in the long run!

To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration ie what life will look like; what life will feel like and what you want/hope will change or not change etc. Could you please answer the 4 following questions in your own words:-

How will life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?


Throughout this exploration I would like you to answer all questions that I have written in blue text. Please answer questions individually, remembering to use the quote function to highlight the question being answered.

Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Tue May 07, 2019 3:07 pm

How will life change?
Life won’t change, it will continue on its course as it always has and always will, flowing in and around all beings and phenomena. My perception of life might change though. Without the burden of self-regard / self-awareness / self-criticism / the Self concept, things may seem brighter, lighter and clearer. There have been times when I’ve been in the flow of creative work, and one particular time during and after my first meditation retreat, when the focus on Self and duality disappeared and there was just being. My perception of life could shift to a permanent version of that. That said, a part of me still half-anticipates a spectacular fireworks and a magical Christmas tree as a result of this process, but I know that’s irrelevant / diversionary thinking.
How will you change?
‘I’m a good / weak / worthless / kind / lazy / talented person’, or, more lately, ‘I’m not the person I used to be’. Regardless of specific terms, I understand and accept that these labels are mind-forged, made from habit, repetition and expectation, not germane to the present moment, and most likely the underlying cause of many long-term blockages to my progress and happiness. That’s why I’m here.

How will I change. My studied answer would be: ‘I won’t change, because there is no ‘I’ to change’. But at this stage that answer would be dishonest because, while I arrived at that conclusion theoretically some time ago, I’m not there in terms of ‘seeing’ it. So, my honest, spontaneous answer at this point is: ‘I won’t change. I’ll still be comprised of the same things that I’m comprised of now, a body, consciousness, but without the immobilising labels that hold me back and cause me unhappiness, inertia, stress and worry. I’ll be free to simply exist’.
What will be different?
I can only guess at what might be different in a post-Self future, based on a previous period of ‘unSelfishness’ I went through in the past, which followed a particularly powerful experience of deep meditation and continued for several months.

I was still me, but everything suddenly seemed new, improved and working properly, like I’d had a complete mental, emotional and physical MOT. I was unselfconscious, relaxed, clear-headed for what felt like the first time ever. My sister remarked that I seemed much more intelligent (!), and I felt so too. I think it was because my mind had been emptied of clutter and self-doubt about my worthiness / abilities. And, to my surprise, I was charismatic; people were drawn to me.

My artistic productivity increased because I ‘just made stuff’ rather than shutting myself down with self-doubt about its (and, by extension, my) quality. I made it because I wanted to, and I simply enjoyed making it, just like I used to when I was a child. There was no reason to do it, it was just done.

The world seemed to be a happier place. My appreciation of other people and phenomena flowered as never before, tenderness arose in relationships and it was easy and natural to be kind. Awareness of connection to all things was front and centre.

Going forward to a presumed post-Self future, maybe things will once again seem as I’ve just described. Or maybe they won’t; perhaps there will just be a calmer mind and more drive and energy.
What is missing?
I perceive a number of things to be missing from my psychological make-up, and all of them have a clue in the title : Self-confidence; self-determination; self-motivation. I went through trauma and illness over the last decade; although I’m stable now, the spiritual progress I’d worked hard to make in earlier years has been to a large extent buried under Selfish concerns in the aftermath of these negative experiences. Life is OK, but feels alternately static and adrift. Equanimity and sense of clarity, acceptance and joy are missing.

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Tue May 07, 2019 9:56 pm

Hello Glenn,

The purpose of the questions were for you and I to become aware of any expectations you may have of what having the realisation may look like or feel like. Expectations have a habit of getting in the way of the exploration and even blind siding the fact that the realisation has happened. There is nothing to be done with expectations other than to be aware of them and any others that appear as we move through this exploration. When desired outcomes to expectations are not met, fear, anger, resistance, resentment, frustration can arise. Also note that these emotions will arise during our exploration as well. When they do, please let me know so that we can look at them together.
How will life change?
Life won’t change, it will continue on its course as it always has and always will, flowing in and around all beings and phenomena.

That said, a part of me still half-anticipates a spectacular fireworks and a magical Christmas tree as a result of this process, but I know that’s irrelevant / diversionary thinking.
Life continues to life, just as Christmas still continues to come and go, even though it has been realised that Santa Claus is a fictional character. You are aware of wanting fireworks and trumpeting angels to announce that you have ‘seen’…so look for subtle shifts instead.
How will you change?
‘I’m a good / weak / worthless / kind / lazy / talented person’, or, more lately, ‘I’m not the person I used to be’. Regardless of specific terms, I understand and accept that these labels are mind-forged, made from habit, repetition and expectation, not germane to the present moment, and most likely the underlying cause of many long-term blockages to my progress and happiness. That’s why I’m here.
This exploration is not about changing the character. However, as a byproduct of realising ‘no self’, it seems that the character may change, but what those changes are can differ for everyone.
How will I change. My studied answer would be: ‘I won’t change, because there is no ‘I’ to change’. But at this stage that answer would be dishonest because, while I arrived at that conclusion theoretically some time ago, I’m not there in terms of ‘seeing’ it. So, my honest, spontaneous answer at this point is: ‘I won’t change. I’ll still be comprised of the same things that I’m comprised of now, a body, consciousness, but without the immobilising labels that hold me back and cause me unhappiness, inertia, stress and worry. I’ll be free to simply exist’.
This exploration is just a beginning and not an ending. Even when ‘no self’ has been realised, there are still beliefs and patterns that are rooted in the idea of being a separate self that will need clearing as not everything gets rewritten in one big hit...so yo-yoing happens. There is clear seeing that there is no self and in the next moment this clarity is muddied...all normal experiences and there is no time frame to when this yo-yoing ends. Because the core belief of being a separate self is seen through though; the rug will begin to unravel with many knots that need undoing. But knowing that the ‘conditioning’ is not something that you own, then it is easier to clear. Continuing to LOOK after the realisation is very much the key.
What will be different?
I can only guess at what might be different in a post-Self future, based on a previous period of ‘unSelfishness’ I went through in the past, which followed a particularly powerful experience of deep meditation and continued for several months.
Experiences come and go…that is the one given in life. What always IS…always IS. Just watching how life unfolds is the key without having any expectations and attachments to outcomes. One of the causes of suffering is expectations and attachments to outcomes!
What is missing?
I perceive a number of things to be missing from my psychological make-up, and all of them have a clue in the title : Self-confidence; self-determination; self-motivation. I went through trauma and illness over the last decade; although I’m stable now, the spiritual progress I’d worked hard to make in earlier years has been to a large extent buried under Selfish concerns in the aftermath of these negative experiences. Life is OK, but feels alternately static and adrift. Equanimity and sense of clarity, acceptance and joy are missing.
There is never anything missing…it is impossible. Equanimity, sense of clarity, acceptance and joy are experiences that come and go. What remains is whole, seamless and complete and always IS.

Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Wed May 08, 2019 11:52 pm

There is nothing to be done with expectations other than to be aware of them and any others that appear as we move through this exploration. When desired outcomes to expectations are not met, fear, anger, resistance, resentment, frustration can arise.


Received and understood. Expectation conditions response. The expectations I described I know to be skittish thoughts. They pop up but they don’t hold sway or dominate. I take them to be distractions, pockets of resistance. Old counterproductive thoughts, circling around. They’ve long since been superseded by awareness that attachment to outcomes is counterproductive…but they hang around anyway. Today they haven’t been present, seemingly because the mind is gearing up for this work now.

I mentioned them to give you an honest impression of what was happening in the mind at the point of re-entering this process with you. They make their presence felt occasionally, I think as a vestige of the long-ago meditation experience I had which really did end up with trumpets and Christmas :-). However, I’d entered my first retreat with no expectations whatsoever of what it might or might not lead to: beginner’s mind. Because of that, a blissful experience happened to take place. No expectations, only curiosity and work. I know that any attempt to recapture that lightning would be foolhardy and serve only to hobble the process. In time, desires that arose for ‘more of the same’ were shed though. There’s no ambition for any certain kind of outcome now, just curiosity and intent to work, and what will be will be. Or, as you wrote, what is, is.
Also note that these emotions will arise during our exploration as well. When they do, please let me know so that we can look at them together.
My first read-through last night of your comments gave rise to a feeling of positive excitement concurrent with a mild sense of…dread, I suppose is the word for it. Resistance. I know this feeling well, of energy draining downwards and out through the body. It varies in intensity and last night night it was mild and brief but noticeable enough. Flight response. I’ve been through (and subsequently read up on) trauma, and I’ve undertaken somatic experiencing, so I’m pretty sure that’s what it was—by definition, self-protection. So, yes, there was a flash of ‘oh my god, what am I getting myself into again now!’ but it was significantly outweighed by positive emotions swiftly thereafter: excitement, novelty, curiosity, hope.
You are aware of wanting fireworks and trumpeting angels to announce that you have ‘seen’…so look for subtle shifts instead.
Today has been all about looking for subtle shifts; emphasis on ‘looking’, as much as possible, instead of conceptualising / verbalising. Takes adjustment, but it’s happening. There’s an increasing awareness of the automatic nature of what the body is doing. At times during last night and today, observation of the shapes formed by the hands revealed them as seeming quite new and strange and, I suppose, independent. There’s looking and there’s hands, but the two phenomena seem independent of each other in an odd way. At the same time there's a kind of curvaceous fluency to their respective positions on the body; I'm picturing a house and a ski-lift on each end of a snowy peak for some reason! I must emphasise, this is indeed subtle stuff.

This evening I’ve been thinking about looking while looking’s been taking place. My prior experience with insight meditation allows attention to be focused on individual body parts with relative ease. So it is that the eyes are perceived independently as orbs sitting in the head, but…who is looking out through them? Not aware of anyone in there! Right now, I’d say there are eyes with a brain behind them. That’s it. I don’t sense the brain the way I sense the eyes, but of course I know it there because of experience and memory. Dull sensation at the back of the skull. ‘Looking’ itself seems to be an external process that’s moving outward from the front of the eyes.


By chance, last night I read through another LU poster’s account of focusing on the ‘thought director / controller’ (an assumed Self directing the thoughts) or, rather, the absence of one. It’s good I did, because that line of enquiry became a focus for me today. The gap between a decision / action being made and the mind’s / self’s near-immediate claim of having initiated it is incredibly short. I won’t say that an indisputable, profound awareness of this phenomenon arose today, but something did. I looked for it and, when I did, things felt peculiarly out-of-sync but in the most fleeting, subtle, low-key way imaginable. Like a shadow glimpsed in the corner of the eye. I hope the mind isn’t playing a trick on me here; as we’ve agreed, expectation conditions response, and it’s possible that reading the other poster’s thoughts on this subject may have engendered a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I don’t think so.
This exploration is not about changing the character. However, as a byproduct of realising ‘no self’, it seems that the character may change, but what those changes are can differ for everyone.
With regard to this facet of this enquiry in particular, I genuinely have no preconceptions, fears or desires. Whatever happens is just the way of things.
… knowing that the ‘conditioning’ is not something that you own, then it is easier to clear. Continuing to LOOK after the realisation is very much the key.
Thank you. I’ll remember this.

I must leave it there for tonight. I could write more but it would be lots of enthusiastic but not very relevant verbiage. That’s a lifelong habit, and an obstructive one at that. Time for direct experience to take centre stage instead.

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu May 09, 2019 12:04 am

Hi again Kay

Briefly--I left one thing out about today. There was also sharpening awareness of how 'automatic' the mind and body are as they go about their business. This ties in with what I wrote above about the 'thought director' and the decision-making / ownership gap, but I should mention it. Oddly enough it strikes me as funny. Just this thing moving about, doing stuff.

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Thu May 09, 2019 12:56 am

Hi Glenn,

Thank you for your response to 'expectations'.

As stated in my first post, my role is to directly point to what IS, through the use of exercises and questions. Your role is to LOOK carefully to what is being pointed at. It is this simple LOOKING (not thinking) that brings the realisation that there is no separate self and never has been.

Okay, now we become aware of actual experience (AE) and what LOOKING is.
‘Looking’ is just plain looking at actual/direct experience (AE), which is simply colour (image), sound, smell, sensation, taste and the simple knowing of thought at face value that is appearing right now in the moment. You are looking at the raw experience of AE and noticing the labels and thoughts ABOUT the raw experience. The key to this exploration is the careful LOOKING. Why? Because it’s the act of actually LOOKING and not finding an “I” that brings about the realisation of there being no separate self and that there has never been a separate self.

The interpretation of actual experience happens quickly. So while inquiring, labelling and interpretation will always appear, but it is possible to become aware of the thoughts that appear with,and overlay actual experience. Another key component of this exploration is being able to tell the difference between actual experience and the interpretation by thought of actual experience


The following exercise points to what I mean.

For this exercise you will need an apple or any other piece of fruit will do.

Image

Have a look at an apple. When ‘looking at an apple’, there's colour; a thought saying ‘apple’; and maybe a thought saying, "I'm looking at an apple."
What is known for sure? Colour is known and thoughts are known.

What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?
Actual experience does not refer to thoughts ABOUT something…because that is only just more thought. Actual experience is sound, thought, colour, smell, taste, sensation.

Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only colour and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?


While these thoughts are known, what they talk ABOUT can't be found in actual experience.

This is what is meant by ‘looking in actual experience ‘. What you know for sure, and, is always here.

The label ‘apple’ is known
Taste labelled ‘apple’ is known
Colour labelled ‘apple’ is known
Sensation labelled ‘apple’ is known (when apple is touched)
Smell labelled ‘apple’ is known
Thought about/of an ‘apple’ is known
However, is an apple actually known?

Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu May 09, 2019 5:58 pm

Hi Kay

Firstly, thank you so much for setting me straight in terms of how we are to proceed. I think I entered into this in a little bit of a flap, and would probably have blathered on unproductively, overthinking and wittering away, had you not steered me in the right direction. Drat that monkey mind :-)

Things are calmer and clearer today in every sense, not to mention that I'm greatly relieved at being unburdened by you of a presumed obligation to think—a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. I'm looking forward to following your guidance and grateful for the containment and structure it provides.

Also, I had unwittingly misinterpreted the context of the word 'looking'; I was thinking of it in the context of meditation, when one is encouraged to ‘look at’ (analyse) the meaning of any thoughts that arise. Now I understand that in our present context, looking means literally that—just looking. I’ll be conscious of steering clear of other influences and preconceptions from now on and focus only on our present work as it unfolds.

I popped out to the shops this afternoon and purchased four shiny red apples. I’ll undertake the exercise you’ve described throughout the next couple of days, so I may not post again until the weekend. However, if anything arises before then I’ll let you know sooner.

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Fri May 10, 2019 12:57 am

Hi Glenn,

Enjoy those 4 shiny red apples! I look forward to your next post.

Sending love,
Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Sun May 12, 2019 9:32 pm

Hi Kay

Just a quick check-in from me to let you know I'm still here. I got called away this afternoon and haven't had time today to draft a proper reply but I'll do so in the morning, so expect to hear from me then.

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Mon May 13, 2019 2:39 am

Thanks Glenn...I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/


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