Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

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Granty77
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Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby Granty77 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:41 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That a lot of human suffering is caused by this belief that 'I' is a real thing that has to control the situation, to guide 'me' towards happiness, career and relationship fulfilment. I'm aware of this conceptually, just not experientially - no matter how much I learn about it!

What are you looking for at LU?
I'd like some guidance from someone who can pinpoint where I'm going wrong. I had some sort of realisation twenty years ago, something that was profound and life changing, but I feel like that was just a taste. I haven't maintained that sense of relief, it wasn't abiding. From what I've read passing through the gate is an abiding knowing, something that lasts.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I'm expecting (hoping) for someone who knows and understands and has experience of where I am now. I've hit a wall that I can't pass, there's something obvious that I'm just not getting. I need someone who can figure out where I'm going wrong.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Occasional meditation, reading books by Tolle, Kornfield etc, listening to audio dharma talks by Gil Fronsdal. This usually happens in spurts of activity - I do what i need to do to calm the mind, concentration meditation etc. After a while I get frustrated and give up, feeling like I'm not getting anywhere.

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

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:24 pm

Hello,

My name is Paula and I would be happy to guide you. Should I call you Granty or is there another name that you prefer?

If you are ready to begin, please reply to this message and we will start our journey.

Warm wishes,
Paula

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Granty77
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby Granty77 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:04 pm

Hi Paula

Nice to make your acquaintance and thank you for helping me, most people call me Neil :)

Yes, I am ready to begin.

Many thanks
Neil

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:09 pm

Wonderful! So nice to connect with you, Neil.

Before we start, I would like to share some tips to make our dialogue smooth and effective:

1. Please write as much as you can; I would advise you to write at least once a day, in order to keep it fresh and build a momentum. I will aim to respond daily as well, although not on weekends as I don't have access to a computer.

2. Our main focus here is on seeing through the illusion of what we call "I," "me," or "self." Please set aside all the teachings you've learned from books, retreats, youtube, and so on, for the sake of not bringing bias to what we'll do during our conversation.

3. The process will be mostly answering my questions, its best if you may answer them one by one. Please be always 100% honest with your answers. Don't choose the "right" answer, just write what comes up for you. There is no one to judge or criticize. If you are stuck with any issue, we can always take a close look at it.

Here's a link that shows how to use the quote function: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ

4. I would suggest you read "What Liberation Unleashed is not" from this link http://www.liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

As your guide, I will be facilitating your investigation into the illusion of the separate self and challenging the core beliefs that support this illusion. I will not give you information but instead encourage you to look for yourself by asking questions and pointing. I will provide you with the questions I wish you to answer in blue font.

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:12 pm

Let's begin!!

What are your expectations for liberation? How will this feel? How will this change you?

Write this down:
There is no separate self at all in reality. No agent that is in charge, no manager, no watcher, no owner of life; all there is is life flowing freely as one movement.

Watch, wait, notice, write- what comes up? Is there fear? Is there a doubt? Resistance? Frustration? Something that wants to scream and make a turn away, something that says this is not working? Or maybe there is a feeling of wow, joy, relief?

Notice all that is going on inside and just put it down in writing.

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Granty77
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby Granty77 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:03 am

OK, let's do this :)
What are your expectations for liberation? How will this feel? How will this change you?
I feel like I had a taste of liberation a few years back, which led me to this point. Something happened which caused me to shed years of conditioning and concerns, bringing about tremendous relief and a feeling of being born again. I lost a lot of fear which I used to carry around, became more confident, realised how wrapped up I was in stories of self-pity - this all vanished and was able to live without fear and self obsession.

Over the years I feel a new 'me' has crept in, possibly because I had no understanding of what I experienced. I spend years learning about mindfulness and Buddhism, reading books and listening to talks, learning to meditate. Meditation brings some sort of temporary relief from the endless stream of self-talk which causes suffering. Then I listen to an interview with Eshwar Segobind, who talks in very clear and certain terms of there being no self. i call him up, he points me here - now here I am!

I feel like I've been putting a plaster over a huge wound, I know that by realising there is no self all of my so-called suffering will lose any meaning. I understand it conceptually, I just don't fully feel it yet.

I feel as though I am a spectator to my life. I know the voices in my head are just thoughts, but I feel as though I still make decisions, even when there is no self-talk claiming ownership of those decisions.

P.S. I have been reading Gateless Gatecrashers recently and have been questioning myself along with the interviewees. I witnessed my mind labelling the feeling in my chest which I've always associated as 'me' - then had an a-ha moment, a peek behind the curtain. It made me laugh because I saw how ridiculous it was, and if my mind was labelling my chest sensations as 'me' what else it labelling? I feel like I'm experiencing the world more directly as a result of this questioning, but I have doubts if the 'I' has been fully uprooted. I still get upset/angry if I've been slighted, insulted etc - though it doesn't hang around as long.
Write this down:
There is no separate self at all in reality. No agent that is in charge, no manager, no watcher, no owner of life; all there is is life flowing freely as one movement.

Watch, wait, notice, write- what comes up? Is there fear? Is there a doubt? Resistance? Frustration? Something that wants to scream and make a turn away, something that says this is not working? Or maybe there is a feeling of wow, joy, relief?
There is a feeling of doubt, as I agree with all of the above except for the 'no watcher' part. I feel like if there is no watcher then there is no awareness. As far as I can tell, the awareness is the watcher.

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:43 pm

Hi Neil,

Wonderful looking! What a great start.
I lost a lot of fear which I used to carry around, became more confident, realised how wrapped up I was in stories of self-pity - this all vanished and was able to live without fear and self obsession.
Yes - this is awareness, and it is always with you. It has not been lost, it just gets covered over by thoughts, and we identify with those thoughts. The work we are doing will help you see through the thoughts more quickly so you can get back to this reality. Ram Dass talks about a cloud in a picture, if you fold the picture so you don't see the sky, only the cloud, the cloud seems to be the only thing there is. Once we unfold the picture open so you see the sky again, we notice that it is only a cloud passing by. Same with thoughts.
Over the years I feel a new 'me' has crept in
Can you find this me? Where is he? What does he look like, feel like? Is it always the same me?
I feel like I've been putting a plaster over a huge wound, I know that by realising there is no self all of my so-called suffering will lose any meaning
How do you know that the suffering will lose meaning? What meaning does it have now? Do you know this for sure or is there some hope / expectation for some kind of future state? What do you hope you will have then that you don't have now?
I know the voices in my head are just thoughts, but I feel as though I still make decisions, even when there is no self-talk claiming ownership of those decisions.
Yes, decision making is a funny thing :-) We will look at it more closely later in the process. For now, try to pinpoint the moment in which a decision is made. Notice whether there is a you making it or if it as if it was made already.
I feel like I'm experiencing the world more directly as a result of this questioning, but I have doubts if the 'I' has been fully uprooted.
Can you find this "I" now? Where is it? What would the difference be if it was "fully uprooted" vs. when you look for it now? Can you find it?
I still get upset/angry if I've been slighted, insulted etc - though it doesn't hang around as long.
Yes. This continues. We have so many years of building the habit of making a "me" out of things and creating expectations! The trick is to see through it more and more quickly, and then we come back to what is actually here. Next time you get angry, notice what is actually there. Thought? sensation? Colour? Texture? Again, we'll get into emotions later in the process.
There is a feeling of doubt, as I agree with all of the above except for the 'no watcher' part. I feel like if there is no watcher then there is no awareness. As far as I can tell, the awareness is the watcher.
What is doubt?
What is it protecting?
Is there also fear?
Is there anything behind the doubt?

Where is the watcher?
Can you find it in sensation, colour, texture?
How is it different than a thought?


Looking forward to your answers, Neil!

Lots of love,
Paula

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Granty77
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby Granty77 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:49 pm

Can you find this me? Where is he? What does he look like, feel like? Is it always the same me?
The new me is someone who thinks they know better than everyone else because of this experience I had :) He knows that attachment to self-pity and trivial concerns are a waste of time and yet still engages these thoughts himself. He's much more aware of bodily sensations. The new me feels tension in his chest when stressed and a feeling of contentedness in the belly when relaxed. His mental state is just as subject to external forces as he ever was.
How do you know that the suffering will lose meaning? What meaning does it have now? Do you know this for sure or is there some hope / expectation for some kind of future state? What do you hope you will have then that you don't have now?
There is some sort of hope for a future state when, for example, situations arise that bring about anger or fear, manifested as tension in my chest - but I won't feed these sensations with self talk about how I've been wronged etc. I'm hoping for a lasting sense of peace that remains whatever the situation. That seems ridiculous now I'm actually writing it. I guess what I mean is being OK experiencing the full range of human emotions, more accepting of it maybe?
Can you find this "I" now? Where is it? What would the difference be if it was "fully uprooted" vs. when you look for it now? Can you find it?
It's behind my eyes, in my head looking out. It's in my torso: chest and stomach, feelings rising and falling. It's a stream of discursive thinking - it's me having imaginary conversations and arguments, remembering past conversations. I know these are just thoughts, but they still affect me. I feel if the sense of a separate self was uprooted, the knowledge that these thoughts and sensations are not me would be felt rather than understood.
What is doubt?
What is it protecting?
Is there also fear?
Is there anything behind the doubt?

Where is the watcher?
Can you find it in sensation, colour, texture?
How is it different than a thought?
The doubt is a thought, a thought that says 'how can your experience be any different to how it is now?' How can it be? I keep hearing about a 'shift in perspective' which seems quite subtle. It's impossible to imagine though, maybe that is where the doubt arises from.

The watcher is clear, like glass, or like looking through a window, no sensations. The watcher is behind the window. Th watcher feels is different to thought in that it observes 'things', where thoughts are just 'things' it observes.

Is this enough for you to work with? Apologies if this seems a bit vague or too simple!

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:57 am

This is great, Neil! Thank you for your answers!

For the weekend, be aware of expectations. Notice what is actually here - sight, sound, touch, sensation, thought (that a thought is present, not the content of it) - and when you get carried away in hoping / wishing things were different than they already are.

I will be back on Monday with more questions.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of love,
Paula

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:18 pm

Hi Neil,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Were you able to notice any expectations that came up? What was it like to come back to actual experience?

Once you notice expectations, you can begin to experience that expectations are in the way of seeing with fresh eyes. The aim is to leave any expectation behind in order to take a fresh look. All expectations, no matter what your expect, are not what things are going to be like. Anytime you feel stuck, come back to expectations. If there is something that you think should be happening but it isn't, there is an expectation behind it. They are not useful but in the way.

Now let's move deeper into exploring what is happening in Actual Experience (AE), which is really the only thing we can ever know for sure. We will be looking at what really exists in direct, sensory experience. Rather than thinking about a question, we will focus on LOOKING. This is examining what is actually here, right now.

It is like "looking" for your keys in your pocket. You can touch and you feel with your hands to see if they are there or not. If they are not, you could think, but I put them in my pocket! But are the keys there? Either yes or no.

Let's try a few exercises to get a hang of it:

1 -

Can you find an actual fish in the thought of a fish?

2 -

Imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine form, size, weight, temperature. Keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon. Open your eyes.

Is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or did it never exist?


Try these out and let me know how it goes!

Warm wishes,
Paula

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Granty77
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby Granty77 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:17 pm

Hi Paula, had a lovely weekend thanks, away on holiday in Italy now so plenty of time for contemplation :)
Were you able to notice any expectations that came up? What was it like to come back to actual experience?
I did notice my expectations and a feeling of excitement that came with them, it's a very seductive thought, this reward of 'enlightenment'!

I also re-read what you asked about pin pointing when a decision is made, I realised that things seem to be just happening on their own, without me 'trying'to get things done. This was actually a relief, everything felt kind of efforless after that, like I could just sit back and watch things happening, enjoy them even! It reminded me of being on a fairground ride as a child, it was a car on a track. I thought I had to steer and was terrified Id derail the car, until I realised I wasn't really controlling it - then I could relax and enjoy the ride :)
Can you find an actual fish in the thought of a fish?
Definitely not, just a vague picture in my mind, nothing of substance.
Is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or did it never exist?
No, there is no spoon, I can see with my own eyes and sense of touch that no such spoon exists. The spoon never existed, I created it - there is nothing to disappear because it didn't exist in the first place.

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:18 pm

Hi Neil,

Italy! How amazing! A perfect place for contemplation. And great eating :-)

You have done some wonderful Looking! Congratulations!
things seem to be just happening on their own, without me 'trying'to get things done
Isn't that so cool? We often forget and try again to run the show, but the more we experience this as you have,the more quickly we can remember that any attempt to gain control is just blocking the way for what is actually happening.
It reminded me of being on a fairground ride as a child, it was a car on a track
I love this. Beautiful.

Your answers to the fish and spoon are right on, there is nothing there, never was.

So let's go for some deeper Looking:

Now please take a good look and point with your index finger where you feel that this "I" is in the body. Where is it?

Chest?
Head ?

Point there and take a good look and tell me please what is really (Actually) there?


Now...

Focus on the image of me, the separate individual entity, is it an image or an actual entity?
Look in each sense- can you find the self? ( is there a self in touch, smelling, tasting, seeing and hearing? Test with each sense.

Is the controller/manager in a head? if so, how does a self give commands to the body?



For the next exercise, pick a room in the place where you are staying. Close your eyes and imagine you are in that room. Just visualize and look around, notice where things are put. Notice the space, the feel of it.
This is an image, it can trigger feelings and contractions - expansions, thought stories and feelings attached to them.

Open eyes and see how an image can be created and explored in the mind.

Go to that room now and look at the same things that you saw in the image.

How does imagining and experiencing the same things differ? Is the image of the kitchen and experience of the kitchen the same?

Happy Looking!

Much love,
Paula

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Granty77
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby Granty77 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:09 pm

Hi Paula

Yes, lots of amazing food here, never eaten so much pasta, bread and ice cream :)
Now please take a good look and point with your index finger where you feel that this "I" is in the body. Where is it?
It's mainly in my chest and in my head, to a lesser extent in the rest of my body. The thinking me is in my head, thoughts and thinking. The feeling me is in my chest and stomach, tension and other sensations.
Focus on the image of me, the separate individual entity, is it an image or an actual entity?
Look in each sense- can you find the self? ( is there a self in touch, smelling, tasting, seeing and hearing? Test with each sense.
I can feel a body, which I'd usually call self. There are images of a self in my mind, memories and constructions of events and scenarios. I can see and hear body, this is what I associate as 'me'. The connection between this body and 'I' is very strong, difficult to see past.
Is the controller/manager in a head? if so, how does a self give commands to the body
?

I would have usually said the controller was in my head, but increasingly I'm seeing that I'm not making the decisions that cause actions, they just seem to happen anyway.
How does imagining and experiencing the same things differ? Is the image of the kitchen and experience of the kitchen the same?
Imagining is very vague and small on detail compared to the actual experience- which is more vivid and colourful, solid and unchanging. The experience is more peaceful in comparison to the imagining.

Sorry if I'm not progressing here, I cant get past the body and this awareness being 'mine' - maybe because I believe nobody else is experiencing the same as me?

Thanks
Neil

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:49 pm

Hi Neil,

Thank you for your answers! You are definitely making progress!

Let's look a bit closer here. The key term is LOOK, not think. Anything that exists in Direct or Actual Experience (AE) needs to be one of the following: Hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling and thought; and the unmistakable sensation of being alive/aware (presence/Being).
It's mainly in my chest and in my head, to a lesser extent in the rest of my body. The thinking me is in my head, thoughts and thinking. The feeling me is in my chest and stomach, tension and other sensations.
WHAT do you see in your chest and head, and the rest of your body? Where is this thinking you exactly? What is the sensation, size, location? Is it moving or is it in one spot? Is there really a YOU there or are there sensations? Is there a you or a thought of you?
I can feel a body, which I'd usually call self.
YES! Great! What you feel is something that we call "body", but you already noticed that you would call it a "self" but it is not really that. Now let's go deeper.
The connection between this body and 'I' is very strong, difficult to see past.
Where is this connection? Is it a thought that this body is "I"? What is there in AE when it comes to the body? When you close your eyes and feel the body, does it align exactly with what you see when you open your eyes?
I cant get past the body and this awareness being 'mine' - maybe because I believe nobody else is experiencing the same as me?
Can you find "mine" in AE? Look in each sense - is there a "mine" in touch, smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing? Test with each sense.

Here's an exercise that I would like you to try as many times throughout the day as you can. This will be perfect in Italy :-)

Label daily activities simply as colour/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:-

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience).

Let me know how it goes!

Lots of love,
Paula

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BeHereNow
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Re: Pretty sure I'm not there yet!

Postby BeHereNow » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:31 pm

Hi Neil,

Just wanted to correct something from my previous post.

AE is simply sound, the face value of thought (no content, just that thought is present), colour, sensation, taste and smell.

Looking into the "sensation of being alive / aware (presence / Being)", I see this is actually nothing more than sensation plus thought. So please stick to those 6 elements when Looking into the questions in my previous post.

Looking forward to your answers!

Love,
Paula


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