Panna's thread

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Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:01 am

Hi Doug,

Thank you for message. You sound ready as it gets, let's see what is holding you back from crossing that gateless gate.
First step is looking at your expectations. Make a whole list of all that you expect this is going to be, what you want this to be, what you do not want also. Whatever you can think of, write here.

Sending love.
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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Panna » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:25 am

Hi Ilona,

Thank you so much for your quick response, for your willingness to walk with me on this path towards freedom from unhealthy habits of mind.

You asked me to spell out what I expect and what I would like to get from our time together in conversation, and also to say what I don’t want.

I would like to take an energizing walk with you, relating to each other as spiritual friends and equals. I’d like to discover things for myself on our walk, with your help as a person who’s possibly walked farther along the path than I have.

When I say I’d like to relate to you as an equal, I mean that we are just two human beings. I feel a wise, strong and loving presence behind your words that I trust and admire. To be clear, I don’t think that you have anything of supreme importance to impart to me. But in the several conversations between you and others that I have read, I see your skill at pointing to something of supreme value within each person, which awaits discovery by that person on their own. That’s what I’m hoping you can help me tease out as we walk and talk.

Our human minds are so cunning, and so stuck in habitual ruts, that often we can’t see what’s right in front of our noses. This is definitely true of my mind. A spiritual friend can be helpful in pointing out these blind spots, and I’d love that kind of help from you. Despite the years of work I have done in psychotherapy, self-reflection, daily meditation and long retreats, I still recognize an element of fear that stands in the way of clear seeing. This often appears as a kind of sleepiness, a haze or a dim fog that seeps into my states of calm. I can almost always pinpoint this slightly out-of-focus, slightly sleepy or depressed state of mind during meditation and in daily life, even at times when I outwardly appear to be alert, happy and highly functioning. Even when my mind is deeply settled, open and spacious, I still can register a subtle sense that there is something skillful that I could do with my mind that I am not doing. I have a sense that there is a door somewhere nearby, which I really don’t want to open and peek behind. This sense remains after I have left 99% of other cares and worries long behind me.

In recent times, I’ve become much better at quickly recognizing and seeing through the various disguises and tricks of the ego. Often, when I am faced with a choice to make, I will wait a long time, even a very long time, such as years, before deciding what to do. I will look closer and closer at the situation, over and over, staying open so that I can notice if the ego is working quietly behind the scenes, trying to wrest something it wants from the situation. If I see or sense the ego still pushing or pulling or plotting to get its way, I will continue to defer action until finally, in an almost magical way, I one day suddenly notice that the situation has resolved itself perfectly well for all parties without my intervention.

This surely is a wonderful way to live. But I must interject a “but” right here. And right here I wonder, where does this “but” come from? This is what has brought me to my walk with you towards the gateless gate. Why does this “but” still arise? What’s its source? I have left a lot of bad habits of mind behind me, but this last one lingers. Somehow I still feel slightly uncomfortable with the seemingly perfect formula for life as I described above, where I feel life living easily through me. When the ego complains or pouts, I still to some degree personalize those complaints and pouts. More to the point, I feel drawn by the ego’s bullying challenge to stand up and fight like a warrior and to actively make, mold, shape and create my life. I want to grab my life and shape it forcefully. There seems to be a lot of conditioned energy pointed towards control that still awaits dissipating.

My routine now is, when I see the ego in the room of my consciousness, so to speak, I give him a warm smile and a “hello” and go on with my business. He’ll typically then quiet down, but then return a short while later dressed in various disguises such as in the form of seemingly altruistic, spiritual, generous and practical ideas to improve my life and to help others. Then I take that long, careful look and I can finally see behind the disguise, at which point the ego once again shrinks away. It is a tedious and repetitive business and I wonder if it will ever end? On the one hand, I know this is important work and I won’t compromise, if I can help it, by giving in to the ego’s seductive and alluring proposals. On the other hand, I recognize how much energy I expend in maintaining sheer watchful mindfulness and restraint. And I almost grieve to think of all the helpful, outward-directed good work I could be doing in the world, if I weren’t expending so much effort on pure internal restraint. It’s as if the good I am doing is basically refraining from doing any harm; whereas, I want to build up my understanding and my skills at living fully energized by intrinsic love.

I think that says it for now.

What do you think, my friend?

Much love,

Doug

P.S. I am enjoying the scenery as we walk along ...

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:29 pm

Hi doug.

Thanks for answer. However I will need you to be more precise than that. What I'm asking you is to make a list, and write your expectations about realisation.

As in:
1.
2.
3.

And so on. List what you expect that will change for you after you see that there is no self. List what you want from it. What benefits you looking for. What you do not want it to be.

Please try again. This is important step. Take your time and write with whole honesty as never before.

Sending love.
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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Panna » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:36 am

Ilona, I did it.

The questions that you asked me to answer in the form of a list was all the pointing that I needed. Your request that I list the specific benefits I wanted and expected to get from realization was like asking me which burning hot coals I wanted to reach down and pick up with my bare hands -- this great truth, that fantastic experience, this mind-blowing idea, that life-altering realization.

But why would I pick up a burning hot coal with my bare hands? That would be a crazy thing to do.

Pondering your request, I saw that intense wanting and expectation was present within my experience. But I also clearly saw there was no “I” to be found anywhere that was doing the wanting, doing the expecting. How very curious! But now, having seen that, how crazy it would be for me to keep acting upon that illusion. To keep searching as if the “getting” of something could even happen. There’s nothing to get and there is no thing to get it. That’s it. Ahhhh, so nice, and such a relief!

Here is what happened: First, I sat down to answer your questions. I began a list, typing “1.”

Then I wrote: “I wish that from realization I ...”

And I couldn’t write a single word beyond that. I got up and walked around a while, and within a few minutes I understood that you had asked me to do something that I was quite unable to do. That is, I was unable to believe my ego and to follow its demands. To fill out a list of wants and needs would have been an agony of falseness and empty dishonesty. It would have needlessly continued the suffering.

What do “I” want? What do “I” expect? Please, I’ve been chasing these pointless questions for long enough in my 57 years on this earth.

The very thought of answering such questions was giving me sharp pains in the center of my chest and also in my forearms, from my elbows down to my wrists. It felt as if I were grasping onto something very tightly and I wouldn’t let go for dear life. All of that grasping was squeezing the oxygen out of my heart and out of my arms. Those pains are very familiar to me, I’ve had them for a long time. Such suffering!

So I did the sensible thing which was to let go, and to stop typing.

DONE!

Now it’s just emptiness typing.

So what on earth is next?! I can’t wait to find out ... all doors are open ...

Over to you with great thanks and love, Ilona ...

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:12 am

Ahahahahaaaaa!
That was great Doug. Yes, the expectations are the wall and I love how nicely you saw through them. There is no I! Isn't that just great, no I to expect or achieve anything.

How is it feeling today?
How certain are you? Is there a doubt at all that self is an illusion?

Write more :) writing is best tool to cut through crap and it helps to clarify whatever needs to be clarified, if there is sufficient amount of honesty.

Thank you!
:)
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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Panna » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:07 am

Hi Ilona,

I felt cheerful and light-hearted today, floating a couple of inches off the floor. Like a lottery winner I suppose. More accurately, like I won the lottery but still have the ticket in my pocket and I haven’t yet told anyone. Meanwhile all over the TV they are saying “Who won the lottery? Who won the lottery? When will they step forward?”

I was looking at people all day with a smile. Whoever you are, whatever you do, no matter what you look like or what’s in your heart ... I love you!

A friend came to my house today for tea and she told me the story of her dysfunctional family going back generations, all the way to pogroms in Russia. I have heard stories like that lots to times in my life, but today as I listened to her I thought “I will never again take any of my own sorrows personally. Because they just aren’t mine.” Also as my friend spoke I realized I wasn't taking on her sadness as any extra weight. I was feeling the sadness in her heart but not taking it on in mine. That felt wonderful and for me, a very different and new experience, one that I want to keep exploring.

I repeated this line silently to myself all day: “There is nothing to get, and there is no thing to get it.” It’s like a koan that I cracked because I can see the absolute, objective truth of it. Thus, the satisfaction of a puzzle solved.

But it ain’t all roses. The Sly Old Bastard is still hanging around, I know it. I felt the sting of stupid pride a few times today and once or twice I had the desire to be patted on the head for being such a good boy and such a successful boy.

Realization ... wooo hooo!!

Thanks for the encouragement to write more. I will do that. I hope you’ll keep asking me pointer questions if you feel so moved or interested, Ilona, and I will definitely jump on them in reply. Life continues ...

And I am so curious to see what happens.

Sending love.

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:20 am

The sly old bastard is imagined. It does not exist. There is no ego. The sting is there because you believe that there is. Notice the sting and see if it can reveal something that you are holding on to. Everything not true will fall, let fall.

Great to hear that there is lightness and feeling of winning the lottery. :)) what else you notice? What is real, what is imagined? What is? Is there a you in any of that?
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Panna » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:30 pm

Hi Ilona,

But I'm very happy to have the old bastard around!

He's increasingly harmless. He's like an older person that I fought violent battles with a long, long time ago.

I could keep on fighting all those ancient battles with him but why? He's so old and fragile now, he's poses not the slightest threat to even a flea. He's still sly, and I remain ever watchful and open to the chance that even his present aged and sickly appearance may be just another of his disguises. But mostly I feel up to seeing through his tricks.

Yes, the old man still says and does things that yank my chain every now and then. As I mentioned, I've felt self-satisfied and proud these past couple of days, with little bits of clinging to the pleasantness of having won the lottery.

But then I remember that I only believe I won the lottery. That too is just another image, a word, a metaphor, a belief. It's a proposition that remains to be tested in yet another moment, in yet another day, to the end of days.

Any feelings of pride or shame or whatnot that I may be having strike me now as just another experience, just another sensation. An emotion or a mood is felt just as I would experience, say, itchiness or tingling or numbness, or heat or cold. They are all there but they also are all impermanent and therefore empty and not that big of a deal. See?

In fact, all of these sensations together -- of the body, the emotions, the mind -- strike me like the soft echoing tones of gongs and bells that were struck many, many eons ago.

All these echoing tones from the past make a kind of layered, delicate, gorgeous music in the now.

The grouchy old coot is only a problem if I think he is, right?

And if I made him a problem I'd miss the beautiful music.

Doug

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:05 pm

Beautifully expressed...
So tell me, is all clear? Are you ready for the last questions? Have you got any doubts at this thine that perhaps something is missing, that there is still somethig to chase?

Much love to you.
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Re: Panna's thread

Postby dougmcgill » Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:46 am

Ilona,

I'm clear that I still have things I need to to drop (see above), but nothing is missing and I have nothing to chase. I am enjoying the completeness of every moment, good, bad or ugly. If that qualifies me for final questions, fire away.

Doug

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby dougmcgill » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:54 am

Ilona,

I'm clear that I still have things I need to to drop (see above), but nothing is missing and I have nothing to chase. I am enjoying the completeness of every moment, good, bad or ugly. If that qualifies me for final questions, fire away.

Doug

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:39 am

Nice to hear :) is there 2 of yous?
Ok please answer in full when ready. :)


1) Is there a 'me', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever? how about self, is there anything that is separate from everything else?
 
2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.
 
3) How does it feel to see this? describe in detail.
 
4) How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion but is curious about it.  
 
5) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? was there a specific moment when seeing happened or was it gradual? what exactly happened?
 
6) add anything that you feel that you need to add.

Looking forward to your answers.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Panna » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:15 am

Wonderful questions, Ilona. Let me live with them for a day or two. Then I'll try to offer words.

Sending love.

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Panna » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:57 pm

Hi Ilona,

I waited a few days to answer your last questions because I wanted to live with what it is, if anything, that I realized a few days back. I wanted to give this realization -- again, if it is that -- a test drive. How is it working in my daily life? Is it making a difference at all? Is it real and therefore useful? Or am I just projecting more of my usual fantasies up on the big screen?

It’s the oddest thing. It seems that nothing whatsoever has changed in my life. Over the past few days I’ve fucked up in many long-familiar ways. Towards those I love, I’ve sometimes come across as distracted and thoughtless. I wrote an email that I intended to be warm and friendly but it was interpreted differently, so repair work was needed. I’ve eaten unhealthy foods. I’ve judged myself and others. I’ve overslept. The list goes on.

But on the other hand, it seems that a very great deal has changed. The moment of transition that I reached, which I’ve taken to call the “stopping,” was indelible, observable and real. No bullshit there. As I wrote before, I came to a point where I would not -- could not -- continue down the path that I had been walking down for many years. The graspiness of searching came to an end, just like that.

The weird thing is there was so little effort or energy involved.

It was like a leaf falling, no less and no more.

How could that be such a big deal? I don’t know. But I think perhaps it is. What is involved in a leaf falling? Could such an insignificant event in its own way be quite important, transformative and worth noticing?

I’m exploring that question now.

I had the distinct impression that I had at last grown up, in a very important way, when that leaf fell. Grown up, or one might say matured, in the sense that at last I had taken full ownership of an important part of myself. I’m 57 years old and over the years I’ve matured from time to time by taking full responsibility for other parts of myself such as my role as a husband, as a son, as a friend, and even for my personality, which at one point I realized was just another set of clothes that I wore and that created certain consequences and effects that I needed to fully accept and embrace.

The event that led to this recent growing up, of maturing if you will, was that you asked me to write down in list form what I wanted and expected to get from realization.

So I wrote down the number 1, and then: “I wish that from realization I ...”

With that I stopped typing. I began to feel ill at that moment. But what also happened, and I believe this was the crux of it, was that your question caused my attention to swing around 180 degrees from the fantasy object of my wanting, to look directly at the “I” that supposedly was wanting it. Once so directed, my awareness saw no “I.” In fact, it saw nothing at all. It saw just ... emptiness. The nothing of nothing.

The leaf fell.

What it amounts to is that a spell was broken. Very much as in the famous scene in The Wizard of Oz movie where the soul-shaking thunder and lightning and smoke jets that were frightening Dorothy and her friends were revealed -- were realized -- to be nothing more than cheap theatrical effects created by a nervous schlemiel pulling levers in a curtained booth.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the schlemiel roared into his microphone, madly trying to maintain the illusion of his greatness.

But it’s too late. He’s been seen.

Exactly the same happened at the moment I stopped typing, with one exception. When the curtain opened for me, the booth was empty.

I almost laugh to think of the hubris of my mind before. It seems that I believed that somehow I had something personally to do with causing the earth to spin on its axis and with holding the sun and the stars in place.

Now I see there’s no prime mover but rather only phenomena endlessly generating themselves out of themselves: “Seeing is doing the seeing,” “touching is touching,” “hearing is hearing,” and on and on. At the same time there is also awareness of all of this going on. And then awareness itself is seen as just another thing that is constantly generating from within itself: “Awarenessing is awarenessing.” It’s just something else happening.

It’s like how clouds endlessly billow out of themselves, unfolding and unfolding into towering pillows of whiteness that look very substantial and sometimes very scary until, as they always do, they dissolve and dissipate back into emptiness again. Again there is no “I” whatsoever in any of this; neither in the clouds that billow out of themselves and then shrink back within themselves and disappear; nor anywhere within my experience of my own sensations, emotions, moods and thoughts after “stopping.”

How incredible this “stopping” is! It’s reveals such a furious, intense bubbling, billowing and unfolding! One literally now sees this infinite, benign explosion of life that one knows one is. If anything, that is the self, that is the I -- the endless happening, the infinite, knowing unfolding from within.

How subtle, but how it changes everything!

“Typing is typing.” “Touching is touching.” “Thinking is thinking.”

And, yes, definitely, this also continues: “Me-ing is me-ing.”

That’s the sly old bastard. I’ve written about him before. He’s still hanging around and creating a certain amount of trouble and amusement.

And why shouldn’t he be hanging around? Just like anything else, like any other thought, he comes and he goes. He’s only a problem if I think he is and if I then believe the thought that he is trouble -- which I no longer can.

He is a very special kind of thought to be sure -- a sociopath of a thought, a clever charmer of a thought, a fear-monger of a thought, and a thought that’s able it seems to generate hordes of toxic, fear-bearing clones of itself all over the place. But in the end, in my experience, it’s just another thought and one that is losing its energy very quickly. Like an old man in hospice.

Water pouring into itself. The spume of a wave. For a split second the wave at the top explodes into a tassel of tiny droplets suspended in mid-air. One can take a freeze-frame photo at that moment with all the droplets caught in the midst of their shimmering and gyrating and blobby shape-shifting.

This is like a photograph taken in the midst of our lives. Having been born from emptiness, we individualize for a while into a stupefying array of utterly mesmerizing shapes and sizes and we hang out in mid-air, defying death and gravity for a split second.

Then we fall back down and merge again with our common essence which was never separate and distinct -- that’s the harmful illusion we normally carry as a heavy burden throughout our lives -- but was always the same.

When I saw this ordinary billowing-out-of-itself for the first time in this specific way, as seen from gateless gate one might say, it created the illusion of a beginning, like I had arrived somewhere new. In fact it was only things continuing as they always had, but I had the sense of finally having caught the train of life, of finally hopping aboard the rumbling series of full, fantastic moments that have been passing by for eons.

Having run so hard to catch the train -- in one sense for about 20 solid years but in another sense for my whole life -- I feel as if I am, at last, safely up and upon it. The energy that I expended on the running has dropped dramatically. Now, the question remains, how shall I spend the remaining energy, and the new energies I am now accessing? I am expending more energy now on simply looking and noticing. I’m gazing out over the passing landscapes as the train of life speeds through. Will I ever need to spend energy on anything more than just noticing? I still need to investigate that.

More is unfolding but that’s good for now.

Sending love.

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Re: Panna's thread

Postby Ilona » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:15 pm

dear Doug, the leaf has fallen.. and there is no where for it to land. it will keep falling and fly with the wind.. it was beautiful to read your message and deligtfull to feel where you are at.

if you are ready, please answer the final questions, if not, please whrite to me what is in the way to fully accnowledge that the gate was never there and there was never a you to cross...


lots of love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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