Introduction Joan

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JHC
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Introduction Joan

Postby JHC » Sun Jul 25, 2021 4:04 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That all the things that I take so personal, my pains, emotions, my suffering - are not truly there because there is no person, no one that actually suffers from that. (That is not to say to avoid all of this, I have been there the last years and I have realized it's important to honor myself on the human level and to that responsibility for that).

What are you looking for at LU?
That my being may gently and subtly open to this, the Truth. And I'm hoping that here is where these next subtle steps of my awakening may take place. I'm open to everything, whether it may happen or not. But I feel this strongest pull in my heart towards these pointings. I do have the deepest (innocent) wish that my being will slowly open to the Truth.

I do want to say:

I have been through some years where I sought these kind of teachings in order to get rid of my struggles, my suffering. I didn't know how to be a human and I wanted to get rid of it all. Luckily I eventually realized that this was not going to work. It actually led to a very deep suffering. I now realize that it is important to honor my humanness. To welcome all the emotions and pains I'm feeling, and to learn how to deal with this as a human on this planet. So I'm not looking anymore to get rid of all of this. I'm working with that, and taking responsibility for it, on the human level. And I find on my journey that has been a very important and necessary step. It still is.

Though I still feel this is not the ultimate truth. And that is why I am here. To hopefully slowly and gently open to the Truth. And I'm hoping through this page, and a guide that it will slowly open more.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Mostly that my being hears what the guide is saying. Truly hears. To feel inspiration from the guide. Because there is nothing that I love more.

That my being will slowly take the next step into opening to that which the guide is pointing to. Hopefully something will eventually happen, if not, I will take my responsibility for that also.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I started around 5 years ago with spirituality like guided meditations, yoga, traveling to ashrams, Vipassana meditations, etc. But I did this to get rid of my suffering. I didn't want to be on this planet.

After some time I realized that I never learned to be a human on this planet, to have boundaries, to honor myself and my emotions, and to take responsibility for that. And that this "getting rid of my suffering" was leading me to a much deeper suffering where I abandoned myself quite completely.

When I came to that point after a year or 2, I realized that this was not the right way. I felt it in my being. So then I stopped seeking for a while and started to learn about myself on a human level.

Eventually, there came a time where slowly non-duality started to present itself to me. I started to learn about all of this, because my heart was pulling me deeply towards it. But sometimes what happened, is that my mind again tried to get rid of my suffering and went into non-dual mode. Which made me suffer more. Because I was denying my human part. So then, I became vilagent about these stories my mind started to tell/create whenever I was listening towards non-duality.

After some time I started to kind of integrate both sides. Which this is the place I'm still "at". Working on my human side, which looks like: taking responsibility for myself, having boundaries, learning to honor myself and my needs, learning to listen to my sensations and emotions in my body, etc. And at the same time, listening to non-duality and it's teachings. But to stop when my mind goes into non-dual mode to get rid of my suffering, because then I know it is my mind making stories and that it is all a story anyway.

So that is where I am now at! Learning to be human, but still having this deepest and strongest pull to these teachings and pointings. Because I can feel it in my heart there is something missing all my life.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
9

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Florisness
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby Florisness » Tue Aug 03, 2021 7:05 pm

Hi JHC,

If you'd like me to help you, then we can begin. Otherwise, you're very free to wait/ask for someone else.
I have been through some years where I sought these kind of teachings in order to get rid of my struggles, my suffering. I didn't know how to be a human and I wanted to get rid of it all. Luckily I eventually realized that this was not going to work. It actually led to a very deep suffering. I now realize that it is important to honor my humanness. To welcome all the emotions and pains I'm feeling, and to learn how to deal with this as a human on this planet.
Good to read that you have been embracing the human side of things. Usually the results of this investigation do not eliminate suffering insofar I've observed. I'm however quite confident that we can clear many things up around this no-self thing, and that will of course make your experience a little more light and pleasant, as the removal of any 'untrue/unprefered for you' belief does.

Here something to get things going: So if could take a moment, sit down, relax, close your eyes and take a look at if you can find this internal entity separate from everything else, than what do you find? And what do you make of that (your findings)?

Please learn to use the quote function: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660.

love,
Floris

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JHC
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby JHC » Wed Sep 22, 2021 4:30 pm

Hi Floris,

I’m so sorry I’m only replying now. Somehow I thought I’d receive a response in my own mailing box. So I was waiting and waiting until I realised again I had to login on this website! Haha.. lesson learned. But now I know.

Anyway, I hope it’s not too late to start.

I'm however quite confident that we can clear many things up around this no-self thing, and that will of course make your experience a little more light and pleasant, as the removal of any 'untrue/unprefered for you' belief does.
I’m very much looking forward to it!
Here something to get things going: So if could take a moment, sit down, relax, close your eyes and take a look at if you can find this internal entity separate from everything else, than what do you find? And what do you make of that (your findings)?
I’m not sure I am able to find anything, not a straight up answer. Though, my mind is trying to think of answers and concepts. For example, I feel some discomfort and contractions in my body which makes me feel separate from life. But I can’t really find a clear answer no matter how long I look!

Looking forward to our journey / your reply,

Best,
Joan

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Florisness
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby Florisness » Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:19 am

Hi Joan,

A pleasant surprise seeing a message of you pop-up. Happy to begin the back and forth with you.

Somehow I thought I’d receive a response in my own mailing box. So I was waiting and waiting until I realised again I had to login on this website!
Oh, I can relate to such things :-)

Again, it's a bit of a relief on my part that you've realised to embrace the humanness. Going through this no-self thing on this website can sometimes lead people to deny or dismiss certain things, and I'm glad I can therefore express myself more freely while knowing it won't be used the wrong way. Perhaps we could say that what we are isn't really "in here" (I mean in experience), but that we've nevertheless are experiencing it all as if from a certain point of view, and relate to everything as if from a point of view. Another way of saying that is that in one way of seeing we aren't the body, we aren't the mind, etc., yet from another point of view we could say that we're all of it. That last one, might be a little more inclusive. So when I say 'you are not this', know that I only speak from that point of view as a momentary tool, from another point of view you're that also. Anyway, let's get going.

I’m not sure I am able to find anything, not a straight up answer. Though, my mind is trying to think of answers and concepts. For example, I feel some discomfort and contractions in my body which makes me feel separate from life. But I can’t really find a clear answer no matter how long I look!
Okay, good! Yes, nice observation that the mind is trying to think of answers and concepts. You're not finding anything because it's not there, as can be very easily noticed right from the first start. What takes people most time is often to go from not finding it to understanding that the whole construction or sense of personhood is a bit like a construction, or a mask. There is an identifying or a belief in certain things which create a feelings or resistance in the body and resulting in a contraction, which gives then a sense of being separate.
Normally I don't explain so much, but wanted to try something different. What do you think of that story? Does it resonate somewhat? Better wait with answering those after answering the next questions.

If you take a moment, sit, relax, close your eyes and then do the following: Let some thoughts that feel most like you, or that make you feel most like a you, pass by, a bit like a slideshow in your own speed. The intention is to get a sense of what it is that you consider/feel to be you or that makes you feel like a you. Maybe some pictures of your body now pass by, maybe some of when you were younger come by, maybe some of a job, maybe some shames.. When you do that, notice the feelings that accompanies those thoughts. Do some thoughts come with a stronger 'you feeling' than others?
Are those thoughts really you though? Are those emotions/feelings really you? What if they would go, would you go? Could you be more a specific thought (let's say one of your bodyappearance) than a thought of a bike?

One more note: in your investigation you may come across some resistance here and there. Nothing bad or scary about it. Perhaps see all this as just the way beliefs function, trying to innocently keep themselves going and can do various things such as giving thoughts such as 'don't go here', 'I don't feel like looking there', 'I'm scared to look deeper into this', 'something bad may happen when I find out what I believe isn't true', 'I don't feel like doing this for now anymore', etc. Feel free to share anything that feels important to you.

Looking forward to your response
Love,
Floris

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JHC
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby JHC » Thu Sep 23, 2021 7:05 pm

Hi Floris!

So good to see your message!
Again, it's a bit of a relief on my part that you've realised to embrace the humanness. Going through this no-self thing on this website can sometimes lead people to deny or dismiss certain things, and I'm glad I can therefore express myself more freely while knowing it won't be used the wrong way.
Yes.. I have been there and I have realized that is not the way to go, it seems that my suffering actually became quite worse because of avoiding / denying the human side of it.
Perhaps we could say that what we are isn't really "in here" (I mean in experience), but that we've nevertheless are experiencing it all as if from a certain point of view, and relate to everything as if from a point of view. Another way of saying that is that in one way of seeing we aren't the body, we aren't the mind, etc., yet from another point of view we could say that we're all of it. That last one, might be a little more inclusive. So when I say 'you are not this', know that I only speak from that point of view as a momentary tool, from another point of view you're that also.
I will try to keep that in mind!!

Now answering the other part of your message...!
If you take a moment, sit, relax, close your eyes and then do the following: Let some thoughts that feel most like you, or that make you feel most like a you, pass by, a bit like a slideshow in your own speed. The intention is to get a sense of what it is that you consider/feel to be you or that makes you feel like a you. Maybe some pictures of your body now pass by, maybe some of when you were younger come by, maybe some of a job, maybe some shames.. When you do that, notice the feelings that accompanies those thoughts. Do some thoughts come with a stronger 'you feeling' than others?
Yes, some thoughts do come with a stronger "me feeling" than other thoughts.. with some thoughts I feel a heavy reaction in my body, with others less of a reaction. With some thoughts a very strong response/feeling in my body comes actually. Which (I know it is safe to feel them) but do make me feel scared and anxious.
Are those thoughts really you though? Are those emotions/feelings really you? What if they would go, would you go? Could you be more a specific thought (let's say one of your bodyappearance) than a thought of a bike?
Hmm.. No, I am not those thoughts. But the thing is that I do believe those thoughts to hold truth, and if those thoughts hold truth, that is what scares me a lot. "What if they are true" I often think. And then I respond to those thoughts with anxiety, if that makes sense. Hehe.

If those thoughts would go, I wouldn't go. I actually feel I would be very relieved and more light without them.

Yes I do identify more with a thought of for example my body appearance than a thought of a bike. A thought of a bike it feels obvious to me I am not that, but a thought of my body appearance do feel like me and I respond to that as if the thoughts are truth. Often with anxiety too. A thought of a bike I don't respond with any anxiety because I know it doesn't say anything about "me"...

Ps: am I meant to give examples or? I am not sure. I could give endless ones but don't know if that is the meaning of this exercise :)
Okay, good! Yes, nice observation that the mind is trying to think of answers and concepts. You're not finding anything because it's not there, as can be very easily noticed right from the first start. What takes people most time is often to go from not finding it to understanding that the whole construction or sense of personhood is a bit like a construction, or a mask. There is an identifying or a belief in certain things which create a feelings or resistance in the body and resulting in a contraction, which gives then a sense of being separate.
Normally I don't explain so much, but wanted to try something different. What do you think of that story? Does it resonate somewhat? Better wait with answering those after answering the next questions.
Yes this is very much how I experience this actually.. I identify with certain thoughts and beliefs and then I feel in my body that my body responds to those beliefs with certain sensations. Often contractions around the heart, throat and stomach area. So yes, resonates very much!

-

Looking forward to your response, and thanks so much for doing this!

Best,
Joan

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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby Florisness » Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:06 am

Hi Joan,

Ps: am I meant to give examples or? I am not sure. I could give endless ones but don't know if that is the meaning of this exercise :)
That made me smile. Finding an answer to the questions gives you the opportunity to find thoughts of greater clarity and also gives me the (satisfaction and) opportunity to see where you stand in these topics, so that I can respond to it. Whatever feels right for you to express is good for me, but of course it's nice if you don't leave me with a blanco response :-) I think your current/previous post was great. Just one more note, when I ask questions, no need to pressure yourself thinking you've got to give a 'correct' response, whatever feels expressive for you is good.

Yes.. I have been there and I have realized that is not the way to go, it seems that my suffering actually became quite worse because of avoiding / denying the human side of it.
Yes I understand. Instead of thinking 'this here is not true, it is thing right here that is the truth!', you can also think like 'I can see some truth in this and I can see even a greater truth in this!'.

Yes, some thoughts do come with a stronger "me feeling" than other thoughts.. with some thoughts I feel a heavy reaction in my body, with others less of a reaction.
Okay, nice observation. So if you sit there with closed eyes (eyes can be open to, but then you might be more tempted to think that you're actually a body in a room), and look at these thoughts that feel most like you, do these thoughts actually refer to anything that is literally present for you? By what is present for you now I mean whatever you experience at that moment and not by what you think might be true or be going on. For example, if you have a thought about you being in your job, being a mother, a memory of being a child, etc, is any of these things present for you? If something isn't present for you now, it can't be you, yes?

With some thoughts a very strong response/feeling in my body comes actually. Which (I know it is safe to feel them) but do make me feel scared and anxious.
Hmm.. No, I am not those thoughts. But the thing is that I do believe those thoughts to hold truth, and if those thoughts hold truth, that is what scares me a lot. "What if they are true" I often think. And then I respond to those thoughts with anxiety, if that makes sense. Hehe.
Yes. Perhaps you can also get a sense that if there is a thought that doesn't feel good, it's because it's a thought that doesn't resonate with your being, or perhaps we could say in a way, with the truth of you. So you can always use the opportunity when resistant thoughts come up that come with great fear or such, as an opportunity to find resonating thoughts of much greater clarity/acceptance/love. If you do, in my experience, you'll feel the new energy of those thoughts within and around your body immediately. You might need to do that a few times. Just something I liked to share.

If those thoughts would go, I wouldn't go. I actually feel I would be very relieved and more light without them.
:-)

Yes I do identify more with a thought of for example my body appearance than a thought of a bike. A thought of a bike it feels obvious to me I am not that, but a thought of my body appearance do feel like me and I respond to that as if the thoughts are truth. Often with anxiety too. A thought of a bike I don't respond with any anxiety because I know it doesn't say anything about "me"...
I think I already partly replied to some of this above. I'm amused to see that you use the word body appearance, as I did. I use that word combination to plant the idea that it's an appearance and not a real body, perhaps you're resonating somewhat with that? If you sit/lay with eyes closed, is there something present there for you which you could call a body? And if there isn't, can you be it? I know there will be sensations and perhaps many thoughts about a body or body parts that are associated with the sensations, but perhaps it's more accurate to say that what is present then are just sensations floating in space and a sense of aliveness?

I identify with certain thoughts and beliefs and then I feel in my body that my body responds to those beliefs with certain sensations. Often contractions around the heart, throat and stomach area.
And those contractions, do they make you feel like a separate self?

A little much text for one reply, I hope that's not a problem for you. Looking forward to your reply.

Love,
Floris

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JHC
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby JHC » Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:05 am

Hey Floris!

How are you doing?
Okay, nice observation. So if you sit there with closed eyes (eyes can be open to, but then you might be more tempted to think that you're actually a body in a room), and look at these thoughts that feel most like you, do these thoughts actually refer to anything that is literally present for you? By what is present for you now I mean whatever you experience at that moment and not by what you think might be true or be going on. For example, if you have a thought about you being in your job, being a mother, a memory of being a child, etc, is any of these things present for you? If something isn't present for you now, it can't be you, yes?
So if I look at those thoughts that feel most like me, that now come by like images in front of me kind of. Then no, they do not refer to anything!! that is literally present for me now. Currently I'm sitting on my chair and looking outside the window / writing this down, that is the only thing that is happening... so all these images / thoughts are not happening right now and not present for me right now.. So then, I guess, it can't be me? Even though it feels real in the body? That's funny.. It's weird because somehow it feels real in my experience / body.
I think I already partly replied to some of this above. I'm amused to see that you use the word body appearance, as I did. I use that word combination to plant the idea that it's an appearance and not a real body, perhaps you're resonating somewhat with that? If you sit/lay with eyes closed, is there something present there for you which you could call a body? And if there isn't, can you be it? I know there will be sensations and perhaps many thoughts about a body or body parts that are associated with the sensations, but perhaps it's more accurate to say that what is present then are just sensations floating in space and a sense of aliveness?
Yes so.., I wanted to respond to the question "is there something present there for you which you call a body?" with: I do feel sensations and some contractions in the body. Feeling a cold breeze when wind comes by, or when my cat scratches me (not on purpose haha) etc. Which does make me feel this is my body because I'm experiencing those sensations?

But then what you write later with: "but perhaps its more accurate to say that what is present then are just sensations floating in space and a sense of aliveness?" Then I guess that is probably what is happening? It's not personally me, but it's just experiencing it?
And those contractions, do they make you feel like a separate self?
Yes, they do.. because when certain things happen in life, for example, I need to do certain things in life that trigger some stressfulness, like related to job, house, future management, past memories, responsibilities, it does feel like "me" because I am the one who needs to take care of all that stuff. Because if it doesn't happen, or if I don't do it right, that has consequences for "me" and people / things around "me". It does feel like a heavy load all the time if I'm being honest. I haven't found my way around it yet.

So yes.. that does feel like me, a separate self who is in charge of all of that and who "needs" to be in charge of it.



Thanks so much again!

Joan

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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby Florisness » Sat Sep 25, 2021 12:51 pm

Hi Joan,

Oh quite well, thank you. Hope all is well with you too. And you're welcome, I like doing this so a thanks to you as well.

So if I look at those thoughts that feel most like me, that now come by like images in front of me kind of. Then no, they do not refer to anything!! that is literally present for me now. Currently I'm sitting on my chair and looking outside the window / writing this down, that is the only thing that is happening... so all these images / thoughts are not happening right now and not present for me right now.. So then, I guess, it can't be me? Even though it feels real in the body? That's funny.. It's weird because somehow it feels real in my experience / body.
Ha, yes funny. And perhaps it feels real to you, because that's how you're used to think of yourself.
Yes so.., I wanted to respond to the question "is there something present there for you which you call a body?" with: I do feel sensations and some contractions in the body. Feeling a cold breeze when wind comes by, or when my cat scratches me (not on purpose haha) etc. Which does make me feel this is my body because I'm experiencing those sensations?

But then what you write later with: "but perhaps its more accurate to say that what is present then are just sensations floating in space and a sense of aliveness?" Then I guess that is probably what is happening? It's not personally me, but it's just experiencing it?
Yes, I added that last part because I could imagine you thought the way you did. You probably, as most people, think you're experiencing objects, like a body, others, a table, etc. There is obviously something going on which we could label (for now) experience/appearances/perceptions/etc and you're making objects out of those appearances, or with other words: are imagining that those appearances are objects happening in an objective world. Let's examine that and perhaps it'll allow you to loosen that belief up. I have some exercises for this saved on my laptop, here is the first one:

Normally we say something like 'I feel a table'. There seem to be 3 things involved in such a sentence: the one/I doing the feeling, the feeling, and the felt (the table). Okay, so to investigate:
Put your hand on something that gives some sensations to work with, e.g. the table, close your eyes and inquire:
- can you find something which is doing the feeling? An I, a hand, a body.. Or perhaps you only find the felt/feeling?
- without referring or using thought, can you find something that is the object of the feeling (like a table)? With other words, do you find the felt thing? Or perhaps do you just find sensations?
- do you notice how images/thoughts are imposed onto the experience?
- Can you find feeling (as a verb) as something apart from the sensations? Or could we say that feeling and sensations are referring to the same experience?

After doing that, is 'I feel a table' an accurate description of your experience? If not, how would you describe your experience?

Wishing you well,
Floris

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JHC
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby JHC » Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:54 am

Hi Floris!
Normally we say something like 'I feel a table'. There seem to be 3 things involved in such a sentence: the one/I doing the feeling, the feeling, and the felt (the table). Okay, so to investigate:
Put your hand on something that gives some sensations to work with, e.g. the table, close your eyes and inquire:
- can you find something which is doing the feeling? An I, a hand, a body.. Or perhaps you only find the felt/feeling?
If I close my eyes I can only feel the sensations that are happening there.
- without referring or using thought, can you find something that is the object of the feeling (like a table)? With other words, do you find the felt thing? Or perhaps do you just find sensations?
If I have my eyes closed, and I a m not trying to figure it out with my thoughts, I again only feel sensations. I can't find the object that is being touched.
- do you notice how images/thoughts are imposed onto the experience?
Yes!! If I don't "look" at the objects / have my eyes closed, and just experience what is happening, the only thing I feel is sensations. I can't clearly say that it is my hand and the blanket for example. It's just sensations there. Wherever there is.
- Can you find feeling (as a verb) as something apart from the sensations? Or could we say that feeling and sensations are referring to the same experience?
I guess they are referring to the same experience.. If I look with my eyes I label the experience as "my hand is touching the blanket and I am sensing the blanket." But if I don't do that, if I don't label it, then it is just sensations I am experiencing. There is no this, and the other. Just sensations going on.

-

I wanted to say, coming week I'm not sure I will be able to respond every day. I'm sorry for that.. hope it's not a problem.


Kind greetings,
Joan

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Florisness
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Re: Introduction Joan

Postby Florisness » Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:12 pm

Hi Joan,

Okay great answers, not going to respond them all as I think it's good. To me it feels that the direction that the exercises -of which the feeling exercise I just gave is one- is a bit more mechanical feeling than I'd optimally prefer. But it seemed like the most easy choice in the moment, so I hope you'll still be able to enjoy them and when they're finished we can make the conversation a bit more organic again.
If I look with my eyes I label the experience as "my hand is touching the blanket and I am sensing the blanket." But if I don't do that, if I don't label it, then it is just sensations I am experiencing. There is no this, and the other. Just sensations going on
Oh, yes really nice that you're making that distinction. That's going to make this easy for me.


seeing through the self is just seeing through things which were assumed to be there, but aren't. If you would be experiencing a self/person/I who is controlling, perceiving, and can be things, like long or small, smart or dumb, etc, we should be able to find those things (happening). Otherwise we aren't able to say we experience them.

Okay, so here the same thing with seeing. In a statement such as 'I am seeing a hand' for example, there are also these 3 assumptions:
- The 'I am' which is seeing the hand'
- The 'seeing' which is what this 'I' is doing/undergoing
- The 'hand' which is the seen object by the 'I'.

So, take your hand, or any other object you like, and look at it. Then answer these questions from your observation:
- Can you find an I which is (doing the) seeing?
- Can you find eyes or anything else, which are (doing) seeing?
- Can you find the experience 'the seen thing, e.g. the hand' going to a place in the head where it is received and processed. Or is it just out there, so to speak?
- Can you find something which is interpreting the seen thing?

After these, 'go to' (notice) the experience called seeing, and then 'go to' the experience called the seen thing, e.g. the hand. Toggle your attention between the place/experience of these two thing, the 'seeing' and the 'seen thing(s)', and answer:
- Can you find a difference between what you call seeing and the seen?
- Would it be accurate to say these are the same experience? So could we for example say that what you see = made of seeing/seeing/observing/experiencing?

After that, what do you think about the statement 'I see a hand'? is this your experience, or if not, then what is?

Yes, no problem, whenever you're ready to respond is good.

Floris


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