Searching for some answers and a guide.

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Orion
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Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:33 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand this to be the realization that I do not really exist as an individual self. The thoughts that I have regarding me as an individual or related to ego are an illusion I have constructed. There is an awareness that experiences feelings, emotions and thoughts, but it is not the source, it is only the observer of these things.

What are you looking for at LU?
I have a growing feeling of confusion regarding who I am and what my purpose is. I can sometimes see my awareness is separate to the things it experiences but this knowledge does not often seem to help me avoid the suffering that can arise in reaction to these inputs. I have some intellectual understanding of no-self but I want to understand what this really means by experiencing it not just reading about it. I am hoping that by really experiencing the removal of self, I gain some relief from the suffering I experience from fear and anxiety about everyday activities. Do you think you can help me please?

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I have become so confused with so many constructs and thoughts regarding who I am, who is in control, who is controlling the thoughts and who is witnessing, that I have lost my way. I am hoping that someone can remove this confusion and help me find a path to a place of contentment with whatever the answers may be. I would just like to find an escape from the suffering created by the fear and anxiety of everyday life. I am also hoping you can teach me something that I can experience and apply rather than a theoretical idea.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have always had a sense of being discontent with my place in the universe; a sense of not quite being in balance with my surroundings. This feeling led me to investigate Buddhism. I have been meditating several times a week for about five years using the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana Buddhist practices. In the last six months, I have also tried some insight meditation which has raised more questions for me about awareness and self. In these meditations, I have experienced awareness being separate to my body functions and feelings, but I am not sure what that means for me or what to do with this experience. I have read a reasonable amount of the basic Buddhist teachings, but I have always been drawn to the texts on no-self and connectivity. These seem really important to me but have led to lots more unanswered questions. I have also read texts outside Buddhism about breaking down the concept of self. I feel these concepts hold the key to removing suffering but I cannot get beyond the thinking it to reach the applying and experiencing it.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
8

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JonathanR
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby JonathanR » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:52 pm

Hello Orion,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. I can guide you if you like?
. I am hoping that by really experiencing the removal of self, I gain some relief from the suffering I experience from fear and anxiety about everyday activities. Do you think you can help me please?
I can assist you by pointing. That is to say, asking questions which are then yours to turn over or investigate. The more you're willing to look directly at questions I might ask the more possibilities there will be for success.

But we don't deal in the removal of self at all. It's important to look at this straight away. There is literally no self to remove. There never was nor will be an entity, 'me', only an illusion of one. What we deal with here, what is actually possible, is the seeing of that illusion, how it operates, how it appears. Once that's seen it is possible that quite a lot of the misery of identification as 'self' may begin to fall away. But we are not removing or getting rid of anything. And there is no guarantee of a particular benefit or experience. It's important to understand that it is not possible to predict how no self will be experienced.

How does what I have said strike you? Let me know if, after having read what I have said, you still expect to get rid of a self?

With best wishes and looking forward to hearing from you,

Jon

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:22 am

Hi Jon :)

It is nice to hear from you
Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. I can guide you if you like?
Thank you so much for offering to guide me. You can call me Craig if you wish.
I am really grateful for any assistance you can offer :)
How does what I have said strike you? Let me know if, after having read what I have said, you still expect to get rid of a self?
I believe there is no "I", but I have not really experienced this truth. I do not expect to get rid of self (as this does not exist) but I do hope I can see the illusion of self. I think that really knowing and experiencing this illusion may help some of its associated suffering fall away. However, I am open to whatever the affects of knowing the truth may bring and interested to see where this journey takes me.

Kind regards,
Craig

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JonathanR
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby JonathanR » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:52 pm

Hi Craig

Nice to receive your reply.
. I
believe there is no "I", but I have not really experienced this truth.


I understand. Yes. Believing is not enough.

We will work together, investigating 'self'. At some stage it should simply fall into place that there never was, isn't and never will be a separate self.
. I think that really knowing and experiencing this illusion may help some of its associated suffering fall away. However, I am open to whatever the affects of knowing the truth may bring and interested to see where this journey takes me.
OK. Good. It's good to be inquisitive and not too fixed or rigid in your expectations. As said before it is not possible to predict how no self may be experienced. Expectations can be the bugbear of these investigations. So, for example, we are not offering the 'end of suffering' as such. Be careful to not measure the success or otherwise of your inquiry here on how much less you seem to suffer, (though this sometimes happens).

OK. Let's get started. When I say there is no self, never was, never will be... How does that fall?

All best

Jon

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:45 pm

Hi Jon,

I hope you are well :)
When I say there is no self, never was, never will be... How does that fall?
On an intellectual level it feels almost obvious to me. However when I consider what I actually feel , I do still feel as though there is some small part of me that is Craig.

Some things do not feel like they are part of my "I" like hearing, seeing and breathing, but it does feel as though there is an "I" watching these things. When I consider thoughts and emotions, I seem to have little or no control over these, but again it feels as though there is an "I" that is aware and watching these these too.

Many thanks,
Craig

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JonathanR
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby JonathanR » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:09 pm

Hello Craig

. I do still feel as though there is some small part of me that is Craig
Where is Craig found.? If you take a look for that one? Where is it?
. When I consider thoughts and emotions, I seem to have little or no control over these, but again it feels as though there is an "I" that is aware and watching these these too.
Is it an 'I'? Spend a bit of tine noticing this awareness and look to see if you can catch the 'I' that is 'aware' or if there isn't anything fixed? Just the quality of noticing (albeit with thoughts that appear that may refer to an 'I'?

All best

Jon

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:07 pm

Hi Jon :)

I hope you are well.
Where is Craig found.? If you take a look for that one? Where is it?
In summary, I cannot really locate the exact location of Craig!

At the moment, it feels as though Craig is an awareness. I have therefore tried to look for its location.
With sounds and smells I cannot locate the awareness, there just is one.
With sights, it feels as though the awareness is behind my eyes, but it is likely it is just because I have been told this is how eyes work.
With touch, the awareness seems to be at the point of contact with an object.
With thoughts, the awareness mostly seems to be in my head.
Is it an 'I'?
The awareness feels like an I; it feels unique to me. The location of the awareness seems vague and changeable.
If I close my eyes and just observe the awareness it seems separate to the senses and thoughts but it feels like an I. However, it is hard to locate as it moves around and sometimes seems to extend beyond my body.

Many thanks,
Craig

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JonathanR
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby JonathanR » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:17 pm

Hi Craig

What you say is interesting. You mention 'awareness' a lot.

So that I can be clear about what you mean by awareness could you please find some other words that would describe it? Or which could be used in place of 'awareness'.

Thank you

Jon

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:02 pm

Hi Jon,
could you please find some other words that would describe it? Or which could be used in place of 'awareness'.
Other words that could describe it are either a witness or an observer. Something that is separate but watching.

I hope that helps :)
Craig

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JonathanR
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby JonathanR » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:18 am

Hello Craig
. Other words that could describe it are either a witness or an observer. Something that is separate but watching.

I hope that helps :)
Yes thanks, it does.

I'd like you to try an exercise please?

Find some time to go for a walk in nature. A park with grass and trees would do, or by the sea.

When you're there notice everything alive and wiggling. Grass, wind, birds, trees, insects, sounds, animals, people, weather, sky, temperature. . Notice it all going on. And also notice any body sensations, feelings, tboughd that may be happening.

Now look for a line or edge in all this experience separating an observer or witness from everything immediately experienced. An edge behind which lies 'me' and in front of which is everything that is 'not me'.

Can such an edge be found?


Jon

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:08 pm

Hi Jon,

I hope you are well :)
I’d like you to try an exercise please?
I have spent some time today on the exercise. So far I have found that looking at different things spontaneously creates thoughts. Sometimes these are labels of objects, descriptions, memories or sometimes just abstract ideas. They just appear on their own from nowhere. I am going to spend some more time tomorrow continue to look at my experience as I am not quite sure yet about any separation between the observer and the experience. I will send you my further findings tomorrow.

Many thanks,
Craig :)

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:16 pm

Hi Jon,

I spent some more time on the exercise today and I have added my experience below:

When there were sights, sounds and sensations (like the touch of the wind) these led directly to the experience of seeing, hearing and feeling. These happened without any control from me (e.g. the seeing just happened on its own). I could not find a gap or edge been the object being seen and the seeing or for the other experiences.

From the experience of seeing, hearing or feeling a number of things occurred. Sometime nothing happened; no thoughts. However what often happened was a thought popped up. Sometimes this was the label/name of the object or a description of it (e.g. green, large etc) or a story related to the object, or a memory, or just rubbish (with no meaning). Once one of these appeared, often a chain of thoughts could result or sometimes an emotion (e.g. happy). I could not find any gap between the experience and the thoughts; one just led directly to the other.

I could therefore not find any gap from the object being seen, to the seeing to the thoughts that resulted. However, I did feel as though there was a gap between this chain and something recognizing what was happening. I would say as though it felt like "not me" was the thing being seen, the seeing and the resultant thoughts, but it felt a bit like "me" who was aware that there were thoughts or no thoughts or a story etc.

I hope I explained my findings clearly enough.

Best wishes,
Craig :)

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JonathanR
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby JonathanR » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:45 am

Hi Craig

Thank you

You explained very clearly, thank you. Its great that you gave some attention to the exercise, I suggested.
. When there were sights, sounds and sensations (like the touch of the wind) these led directly to the experience of seeing, hearing and feeling. These happened without any control from me (e.g. the seeing just happened on its own). I could not find a gap or edge been the object being seen and the seeing or for the other experiences
That seems quite clear..
. I would say as though it felt like "not me" was the thing being seen, the seeing and the resultant thoughts, but it felt a bit like "me" who was aware that there were thoughts or no thoughts or a story etc.
So are you saying that with sensations such as seeing or hearing (in the exercise) there was no separation but in the case of thoughts there appears to be a division into 'me' and 'not me'?

Is there a 'you' that thinks thoughts?

If so look for this entity, awareness or 'I'.

Try creating a thought right now

Also, try preventing a thought from appearing.

All best

Jon

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:16 am

Hi Jon

I am glad you could understand my description :)
So are you saying that with sensations such as seeing or hearing (in the exercise) there was no separation but in the case of thoughts there appears to be a division into 'me' and 'not me'?
Not quite. Thoughts also just seem to happen, they seem to be the same as seeing, hearing, etc. I could not find a gap in thoughts either. The "me" part seemed to be after the thoughts appeared and it was just observing the thoughts (it did not play any part in their creation).
Is there a 'you' that thinks thoughts?
No. There is no me that thinks thoughts, these just appear. I have no control of when they happen or what they are about. There is no I controlling my thoughts.
Also, try preventing a thought from appearing.
I think this might be impossible! Every time I tried this, a thought appeared.

Best wishes,
Craig :)

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Orion
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Re: Searching for some answers and a guide.

Postby Orion » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:48 pm

Hi Jon,

I hope you are well :)
I thought it best to warn you I am on a walking holiday from the 9th to 16th August.
It may be a very good chance to complete some exercises but there is also a small chance that there may not be any phone connection. So if you do not hear from me it will be because I have no Internet access. I will know either way on Friday evening when I arrive.

All the best,
Craig :)


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