Circle without circumference

This is a read-only part of the forum. All threads where seeing happens are stored here and come from this forum, the Facebook guiding area and various LU blogs. The complete list, sorted by guide, contains all links. The archives include threads of those that came to LU already seeing as well.
User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:58 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I have a sense of self; a 'me' who makes decisions and choices, is sad or happy, and has preferences and dislikes. But when I look for this 'me', in stillness and quiet, I cannot find the entity, concept, or thing of this self. But the pernicious view that there is a self continues. Thus there is no real, inherent, self — only a belief in one
.
What are you looking for at LU?
When scanning through my experience, the body is not 'me', sensations are not 'me', perceptions are not 'me', my thoughts are not 'me'. But consciousness, awareness, the awareness behind the awareness, seems to be 'me'. I cannot, through my own investigations, feel that this is not true, even though I conceptually know it is not true. I am looking for a guide to point me towards the experience of knowing that this consciousness is not me.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect straightforward, pithy questions about the nature of my experience. I expect more questions than discourse or explanation, and for subsequent questions to arise from the experience I've previously shared. In this way the questions will be tailored, but will not take into account my personality or preferences.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been practising seated meditation for eleven years, with an emphasis on cultivating awareness of the breath and lovingkindness. I have been practising yoga for fifteen years, with an emphasis on investigating body sensations and mental events rather than cultivating specific physical postures. I have not done any formal, guided inquiry practices but in the last three years, especially on retreat, my meditation practice is focussed less on cultivation and more on examining my direct experience, noticing the awareness behind the awareness, and allowing curiosity to guide my enquiry.

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

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4792
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Vivien » Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:01 am

Hi,

My name is Vivien, and I am happy to assist in exploring 'no-self' and other related topics.

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.

This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have.

Before we begin, here are links to information I would like you to read please.
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

A few ground rules:
1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. This exploration is based on Actual (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, color and thoughts - only. 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 and such 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 and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
5. Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

A few technical support:

- You can reply to this thread by pushing the 'Post Reply" button at the left bottom of this page.
- You can learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

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, it will save time in the long run.


If you are happy to agree to the above and have me your guide, we can start the process.
To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration (for example, what life will look and feel like and what you want/hope will change or not change). Could you please answer the following questions:

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.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:30 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thank you for your response and for offering to assist me. I have been in contact with another guide, and am waiting to hear if they can guide me.

Please feel free to respond to another client instead of me.

Many thanks,
GabrielleDoe

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4792
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Vivien » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:01 am

Hi Gabrielle,

All right, thank you for letting me know.

Good luck with looking,
Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7495
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Ilona » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:32 am

Hi Gabrielle,
Thank you for message. We can have a chat and see where that takes you.
I have read your intro and I hear you.
Consciousness is, awareness is. Is this something that you do or something that is effortlessly here?

Can you tell me, what do you expect that should change, be different?
What are you hoping for?

Please feel free to write as much as you like, as often as you like. I will respond when I can.
Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:34 pm

Hi Ilona,

Thank you for chatting with me. Let's see where it goes.
Consciousness is, awareness is. Is this something that you do or something that is effortlessly here?
I may have once have said something like 'I can become more aware if I focus' or even 'My awareness broadens when I'm in meditation'. Now there is no sense of a direct imperative to 'do' anything in particular. When sitting in meditation, there is a broadening; sometimes at the beginning I feel I need to make effort to bring attention to my thoughts or a sensation, to notice when I am caught up in a story. But quite soon there is a shift, and any prerogative drops, so there is only awareness of what is arising and passing; thoughts, feelings, images, memories. Even a sense of me is fleeting.

Sometimes this perspective shifts spontaneously, perhaps when I am walking home under the trees; suddenly there is no me, there is no context of home or distance. And then in the next step I am me again, wondering what I will eat for dinner.
Can you tell me, what do you expect that should change, be different?
What are you hoping for?
What I expect will change is a gradual continuation and deepening of shifts like these. Another way to explain this: sometimes I feel very clearly 'me', with wants and preferences and dislikes. Usually this is accompanied by tightness and constriction; I have a desire, and I am already anticipating not getting what I want. With a shift in awareness (as described above), this tightening loosens. Whatever is there, is there. Perhaps it is pleasant, or perhaps it is unpleasant, but it matters less. The resistance falters. Preferences exist, but they may or may not be met. It's not so important.

What am I hoping for? Hmmmmm. Whenever I have reached or achieved the things I've hoped for, I am always disappointed. I'm handed the soap bubble I was hoping for and it pops in my hands: empty! So now I try not to have any expectations; or rather, to lower them so far that I can only be surprised for the better!

With honesty and without hyperbole: I could say I'm hoping to more clearly articulate experiences of awareness. I'm hoping that the awareness experienced in meditation and stillness can be experienced in daily life, whilst interacting with others, moment-to-moment. I once was afraid of seeing there is no fixed and separate self; freedom for me was a release from the pain of realising there is no 'me'. That pain and fear is not present at the moment, but it may again arise. And I'm hoping to meet it with awareness and curiosity.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7495
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Ilona » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:10 am

When you say the sense of me, what do you have in mind? Where is this sense now?
Is life happening to the sense of me or as the sense that is called ‘me’?
Is this sense in charge of what is happening, in control of what will happen? Does that sense own awareness?

Here are some questions for you to explore. Write what feels true.

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:11 pm

Thank you, Ilona, for your response and your further questions.
When you say the sense of me, what do you have in mind?
The 'sense of me' is like a habit, something that has been happening for a long time. This is particularly true when there is pain, discomfort, or aversion. Different elements come together: physical discomfort of the body, thoughts in the mind in the form of words: 'I don't like this', 'this always happens', a volition of wanting to move or leave. All these snap together, and in that moment I believe a sense of a me that is unhappy.
Where is this sense now?
Upon examination, this 'me' doesn't hold up to scrutiny. All the elements pull apart, and there is nothing in the centre. Sometimes as the elements are pulling apart, a voice comes into my head and says loudly: 'Stop doing bothering with all this! Just watch TV!'. When asked, 'who is that?', there is no answer. So actually, this voice is just another habit, telling a story that has been happening for a long time.
Is life happening to the sense of me or as the sense that is called ‘me’?
Hmmmm, I'm not sure I understand this. I'll try to answer the first part and then the second, and see if the answer reveals itself.
Is life happening to the sense of me
This seems to say there is this 'sense of me' walking, talking, sleeping, etc: things happening to this sense of me. But that is too separate and fixed: it's saying there is an entity that things happen to, or around. Like it separate from the things happening to it. But actually there is no separation. There is walking that is happening, talking that is happening, sleeping that is happening. Not a me that these things are happening to.
Is life happening as the sense that is called ‘me’?
This seems to say that the sense of me is perceiving the walking, talking, sleeping, etc: this sense of me is experiencing these things. But again, this puts an observing entity outside the things that are happening. Again, it's too separate. Walking happens, talking happens, sleeping happens, life happens. All of these things happen, but there is not a me at the centre of it all observing or perceiving.

Instead, I would say life is happening, and one of the characteristics of the sense of me is to believe that life is happening 'to' me or 'as' me. But both of these are stories to keep the me fixed and separate. There is no entity to be found, no me that holds up to investigation.
Is this sense in charge of what is happening, in control of what will happen?
This question brings resistance. Hmmmm, what is that, I wonder?
Often there is the experience of not being in charge. A simple example: I am walking, without a specific destination, and my feet take my body to the left. I did not decide to turn left; but left my body now goes. This is straightforward and true: there is no one in charge, and no one has control.

A more complex example: today I had the choice between two biscuits. One was healthy and flapjack-like: one was ginger and sugar-coated. Looking at the biscuits many thoughts arose, most conflicting: 'I want the sugar one'; 'it would be better to eat the healthy one', 'quick! pick before someone takes the last one!'. Because your questions were also present in my experience, I knew I did not have to make a decision, because one would arise. There was no point in spending time playing along with the story that if I weighed up my options, I would pick the right one. Instead, my hand lifted; it reached out; it picked up a biscuit. Previously, I would have worried if I'd made the right decision. Today, there was only knowing a decision had been made.

But this question brings resistance when I consider more complex situations. I have had substance abuse issues in the past. Through a practice of recovery, which involves giving up control but also taking responsibility, I have not used any substances for over a decade. This depends on me making certain decisions: for example, not going to a shop to buy alcohol or not going to certain places in the city, and talking to friends about sometimes addictive thoughts.

I know from the previous experiences I described above that there is no decider; that ultimately any decision is made without a me. But there is a fear that if I drop the story, then there is a possibility that I may just wander into a bar. So there is fear of dropping the story it is me making a decision.

But as I'm writing this, I realise there is no me who has ever made a decision. Nothing will change! There is no me, no sense of me, no decider, no believer. Even the fear is a story. What would it be like, letting that go? What would happen?
Does that sense own awareness?
This sense of me does not own awareness. That is very clear; that awareness is broader and wider than any small sense of me. It is only when awareness is appropriated by identification with a story that it seems to be 'my awareness'. But this ownership is fleeting. It doesn't hold up to examination.

Thank you for continuing this conversation!

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7495
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:33 am

The 'sense of me' is like a habit, something that has been happening for a long time. This is particularly true when there is pain, discomfort, or aversion. Different elements come together: physical discomfort of the body, thoughts in the mind in the form of words: 'I don't like this', 'this always happens', a volition of wanting to move or leave. All these snap together, and in that moment I believe a sense of a me that is unhappy.
What you describe here is called resistance. Is resistance you? Is a muscular tension, contraction you? Is feeling that something is not enough or not as it should be - an entity with its own free will?

Let’s look closer at resistance, see it as protection mechanism. It’s here to help, to protect something.

What happens, when you allow resistance? Say yes to it and observe the sensation. I made this video, it may help to see what I’m saying. https://youtu.be/NBEn40-pIfs

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:24 am

Yes! The video you sent describes how I've used resistance to guide to deeper awareness. I often reflect on this quote by Eugene Gendlin:

'What is split off, not felt, remains the same. When it is felt, it changes. Most people don't know this! They think that by not permitting the feeling of their negative ways they make themselves good. On the contrary, that keeps these negatives static, the same from year to year. A few moments of feeling it in your body allows it to change. If there is in you something bad or sick or unsound, let it inwardly be and breathe. That's the only way it can evolve and change into the form it needs.'

Resistance guides me to a part that needs attention. Is it holding, pulling away from something. Awareness gives it space to change, shift, breathe, fall open.
Is resistance you?
Resistance is not me. It is a message. It is a message something needs to be felt; that something is being ignored or held. Sometimes instead of the word resistance I use 'holding'. If something is being held, then it can be let go of.
Is a muscular tension, contraction you?
Muscular tension is often part of the resistance; tension in the belly, or neck or shoulders. But like the quote by Gendlin, when it is felt, it changes. Bringing awareness to it allows the contraction to start to shift, to open up.
Is feeling that something is not enough or not as it should be - an entity with its own free will?
Sometimes the feeling that something is not enough is so strong and so it seems to be an entity with its own free will. Again, when there is a complex situation, the feeling seems real, like an iron rod. It stays the same because it can't bear to be felt. But when I bring attention to this iron rod, it starts to melt. It is not solid. It shifts and changes. I cannot make it do that. It does not make itself do that. But awareness allows it to change.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7495
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:43 am

Lovely!
Then what is this sense of me?
Is there a me to sense?
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:14 am

I am asking this question in my body and listening for a response.

I cannot feel a clear sense of me. I cannot find it. There is a spaciousness, a boundlessness.

Ah - but then, at the edge of awareness, there is a subtle nudging. It is like the pressure of a knee on the floor.

Really this is a subtle resistance. Okay, so turn towards the resistance. Feel the resistance.

When it is felt, it changes. It, too, melts away. The boundary it has created disappears.

Now something in my chest underneath my physical heart. A holding. Like a subtle squeezing of a fist.

Breathe into it. Open up to the resistance. Allow it to change and shift.

Now it is opening into the whole chest and expanding — it's already gone.

Now a voice: 'but who is noticing all this, writing all this? Surely this is me?'

Who is this? comes the response. The voice is quiet. Even the ask has dissolved it into awareness.

There is no me here. There is no sense of me.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7495
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:16 am

Yep, there is quietness. And that is the answer.
https://youtu.be/vVfvRetanr0

See that for the answer.

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:09 pm

I have watched your video twice now. At various points throughout the day, I have been listening for the silence.

Sometimes there is silence: quietness in the mind, spaciousness in the body. No boundaries.

Sometimes the voice comes, as you suggest: 'Hi, I'm here! This is me!' But when it's turned towards, when it is asked, 'who are you?', the voice again is quiet. Back to the silence.

It is very windy here today. I watch the trees. I ask, as you did: 'is there a separate wind moving that tree, or that tree?'. If there are separate winds, at what point does it change from one wind to the other? No, there is no separate wind. So how can there be a separate me? Only a flow of experience through awareness.

What is missing? Nothing. Nothing is missing. Sometimes there seems to be barriers; added layers of resistance to the experience of being here. Peeling away the resistance allows whatever is here to be just as it is. Sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes it is painful, but then those layers can be pulled back as well: all is just as it is.

You mention how ordinary it is, how simple. YES. For years I wanted a Big Experience, a Big Concept. But actually the realisation is not a big deal. It is recognising what is present in my experience; the crunch of an apple, the flavour tingling through the tongue, the scent spreading through the mouth and nose, the fading of the sensations.

Even in complex experiences, with thoughts, sensations, and emotions; a pushing on the chest, a thought in the mind, 'I don't want to be here', tears in the eyes. These are all sensations happening, but they are not happening to 'me': they are flowing, like the wind: everchanging, pulsing, shifting.

Recognition is about looking at experience and stopping. Stopping questioning the silence. Stopping looking for the answer. Last year I wrote down: 'I have been waiting for a message. The mistake was thinking the message was an answer.'

The message is not an answer. It is a trust in experience, just as it is.Trusting in the silence.

User avatar
GabrielleDoe
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Circle without circumference

Postby GabrielleDoe » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:27 pm

Much aversion arose today. A lot of resistance, melancholy, and many voices. As I walked around, stepped through my day, they swirled through my experience, escalating in tone, then declining. So believable, and then so ephemeral. I am completely 'in' them, and then there is no me at all, and there is only the experience of my feet on the ground, of the wind on my back, in my hair, of the light in the trees. Sometimes there doesn't even need to be a close examination: they arise and pass on their own.

Sitting in silence is bliss. Everything settles and when sensations do arise, they are exquisite. Even opening to a friend's pain as she weeps beside me is blissful. It is not her pain: it is this suffering that exists in the world, that is there to be felt. It will shift, too.

On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be much purpose to pursuing anything or deciding anything. Sometimes I can feel despondent or resistant to the lack of purpose. A pressure or a tightening in the body. But then asked, 'What is this resistance? Who is feeling it?' Then all this, too, dissipates. It is not mine, this despondency. It is not even despondency. A sensation of holding that can be let go of.


Return to “ARCHIVES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests