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Invitation to start here:

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:34 pm
by Elizabeth
Welcome to the forum. If you are ready to start this conversation, please post a reply.
If you post a reply, we will both to try to post once a day, and be as honest and direct as possible. I'll ask a question, you answer, and we go from there, till we are both satisfied that you have seen past the illusion of a separate self.
If you discontinue spiritual practices for the duration, that would eliminate a distraction. Otherwise, ordinary life is what we look at, nothing special other than the focused, open looking needs to happen.
So, can you tell a little of the story up to now, and tell me what you are looking for from awakening and/or enlightenment?
Much love, Elizabeth

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:48 pm
by DennDJ
Hi Elizabeth, I thought I'd jump in!

I'm an almost 30yr 'old' man from the Netherlands, having been on a 'spiritual journey' for quite a while, with things really having been jumpstarted last october.

I had a spontaneous 'spiritual' experience in which I disappeared from my room and went into this very bright (but not 'hurting the eyes' bright. Different. Clear) light and at that moment, everything, literally EVERYTHING was clear to me. Why we exist, how things work, the grand design, you name it, I saw it. I cried like a little baby with tears of joy and recognition, feeling 'home'.

This lasted for a few minutes only but I was shaken beyond belief for a few weeks. From here on I wanted to know everything about it. I started doubting myself, did I go insane? I felt I had met 'God'/Source yet I could not talk about it with anyone, they wouldn't understand. It did make me feel special in a way, at that time.

I was brought up Christian and ever since I got into early adulthood I started questioning religion, it just didn't cut it for me at all! So I have always (since then) been looking for SOMEthing, the meaning of Life, the purpose, ANYthing that could give me some kind of explanation. And with that experience happening last october, my first priority above anything else became finding the Truth.

This led me to several paths. I started meditating hoping I would find something in that. (Looking back, that is utter nonsense) I started reading everything I could find (A lot of nonsense in there, too - oh how little did I know)
I started praying, talking to my Higher Self (whatever that meant) etc etc etc.

I DID get some sense of 'I am not this body' from those practises, but did not find 'it'. But, I have only been engaged in this since last year, so I figured it might take a while to 'get there' (whatever that may be)

It did raise a lot of expectations about awakening and enlightenment. A bit more on that, later.

One day I stumbled upon the topic of Advaita. Nonduality. This immediately grabbed my attention as it seemed to be the Key to Understanding, the thing I had been looking for. Now all I had to do, was 'Get it'.

I started reading (this was very recently btw) on the topic, visiting websites, watching online satsang from several wellknown Advaita teachers, and eventually stumbled upon this very website through the interview on Buddha at the Gas Pump :) (Oh how I love that site)

I have been lurking here for a while, reading some of the topics through which people actually self-realized. This has brought me a lot closer to self-realisation, too. I understand it almost fully (that is, intellectually) and from time to time I experience 'no me'. Funny thing is, when I first started reading/watching about nonduality I came across Tony Parsons, and his views seemed way too much out there for me. (there is NOONE doing ANYTHING, and he floored every argument or question in interviews.) I could not relate to that at all. But after reading a lot on this site, I do sense he has been right all along haha.

I feel I am almost there already, I just need to really see it.

Hope to hear back from you soon :) Thanks for allowing me to do this here with you. :)

Best,
D

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:51 pm
by Elizabeth
Hello Denn,
Nice to meet you! I'd be glad to hear a bit about the expectations also, they tend to pop up along the way.
That Tony Parsons stuff knocks a you back, doesn't it? :-)
How about starting with this:
How do you see or experience your self right now?
And how would you expect that view or experience to change if it was seen to not exist? (expectations)
Much love, Elizabeth

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:38 pm
by DennDJ
Hi :)

Well, my initial expectations were much different than the expectations I had since a week ago till today. I used to expect - like many other seekers - some big bang, fireworks, eternal bliss kind of 'thing'. Up till today, ever since I started reading on this forum, my expectations changed. I wasn't expecting so much at all anymore, and I very frequently stopped to notice what is already here.

Notice I said 'till today', because today (after writing my previous post) I had a moment of self-realisation!
I have had a brief moment like that before and felt so disappointed when it slipped away. But This time it's different although I do have a couple of questions (oh the woes of a curious mind) ;-)

Today I really noticed, there isn't a me that anything is happening to. I observed this by looking honestly at what is here. I am aware of the things that happen. That means I am awareness, bigger, spacious, open, not confined to just 'Denn'. Yet, there seems to be a sense of this awareness located 'inside a head, looking out through these eyes '. So there is a sense that this 'I AM-ness' still is to be located somewhere (inside the head) I feel there is something missing there in my experience that I am overlooking.

On the other hand I do feel very much alive, as in : I am aliveness. No ME, just being. It is also a big overwhelming and scary.. And also very comforting because I feel very much 'taken care of', if that makes sense. :)

So all in all there is still a sense of a me, but definately not as strong as there used to be and I don;t identify with that 'me-thought'.

What confuses me, is that there is no ME yet I still say 'I' and (seemingly!) speak and do stuff from this perspective of a me. This is a gray area for me, still some unresolved illusion there to be dissolved. :)

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:22 pm
by Elizabeth
Hi Den,
I took a couple of hours to let what you said sink in, sorry if it seemed a little long.
There are a couple of points we might want to examine.
I am awareness is one.
I am aliveness is another :-)
And the curious sense of a self persists! But can be deconstructed.

Let's look carefully at the I, and how it attaches experience, even so called spiritual experience, to a self-concept.
Have you ever noticed how there are gaps in thought during the day. Perhaps driving home you can't remember how you got there. There had been a gap in the mental narrative ABOUT how you were driving home.
Or, you are doing a rote task. It's done, and a you doesn't remember how. Another gap in mental narrative.
It seems that if no mental construction has occurred, no you exists? And yet...the body didn't disappear, the car got home. What happens?
Let's test that.

Look at a cup or glass in front of you.
Is it more true to say it is A cup, or a MY cup?
What mental mechanism attaches a self to a cup?
Please look. Tell me how that works, that an I owns not just a cup, but claims a great deal.
What does an I claim, and how does it do it? What reaches out and attaches objects, real and imagined, to a self?


And if you took an I off the statements at the beginning of this post, would it change anything?
Much love to you, Elizabeth

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:48 am
by DennDJ
hi, thanks for your reply

I see what you mean, some attachment to things persist. Especially when it's a creation I made. I write music so when a piece is finished it is something that Dennis (I) made. It seems difficult to let go of such concepts. Ive put all my heart and soul in music, how can it not be 'mine'.

I do totally see what you mean though, when it comes to other things, like the cup you mentioned. And also the mental narrative missing sometimes when have been driving and suddenly I was at the destination. I understand that completely, intellectually. :)

'What reaches out and attaches objects, real and imagined, to a self'
Well to me it seems that it is this awareness thatsees it self as a self.

And what are your thoughts on what I said about this sense of self being able to be located, inside the head, looking out through the eyes? I see some people on this board asking, 'well, where is this self, can you find it anywher?' Some people say no, they can't find it. I would say it is in the head area.. The fact you can't see it does not mean it doesnt exist?

I am very aware that I am missing something here, overlooking something. Sometimes it is very clear to me! Actually most of the time I am aware that this ('this' meaning, all that happens around/to Dennis) is just happening, and I am merely the observer. Other times it is so hard to comprehend and I start doubting..

PS what about free will? One could say that it does NOT exist at all, then. Can I hear your thoughts about that?

Much love from the Netherlands ;)
D.

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:51 am
by DennDJ
One more thing that keeps occuring to me. Enlightened people still seem to speak from an 'I'perspective. Is that then, because that is how they can relate to others, who are not enlightened?

Or is there still an 'I' perspective somehow. This puzzles me.

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:59 pm
by Elizabeth
Hi Dennis.
I see now where you are coming from, so we really can start with the cup. My goal here is to get you to answer some simple questions, do some simple exercises. I think what you will see will answer your questions, so forgive me if I don't teach or tell, just show. I'd read a lot of books and had a lot of questions also, and came here because I was tired of second hand stuff. If you are ready for that, let's LOOK.

Look at a cup or glass in front of you.
1/ Is it more true to say it is A cup, or a MY cup?
2/ What (possibly mental) mechanism attaches a self to a cup?
3/What reaches out and attaches objects, real and imagined, to a self? How does a you know it's a YOUR cup?
And since you are interested in language and self, this should directly pinpoint why language supports the idea of a separate self which can own something :-)


It's also OK to read in the forum, sometimes another thread can illuminate.

Much love, Elizabeth

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:23 pm
by DennDJ
1/ Is it more true to say it is A cup, or a MY cup?

What pops up first is 'A' cup. However, with some other objects, for example my studio, I would not say A studio, but MY studio. I see this is nonsense when I think about it. But it feels 'mine' because I worked so hard to get it. A cup has much less of an attachment for me.


2/ What (possibly mental) mechanism attaches a self to a cup?

Thinking, I'd say. A thought, or a memory perhaps.


3/What reaches out and attaches objects, real and imagined, to a self? How does a you know it's a YOUR cup?

Identification with it? Going back to the example of my studio: Me, doing what I do, gathered all that stuff and combined it into a studio. How come I think of it as mine, is because I feel I have worked for it, to get it, and only I use it. I see what you mean, though, partially, but not clearly yet. Some things deifnately have more of an attachment to a me, than others.


And since you are interested in language and self, this should directly pinpoint why language supports the idea of a separate self which can own something :-)

Well language is, to me, always 'inadequate' in that it never really IS what is being spoken about. It is just ABOUT something, so it never really is. It's a tool.

Thank you, and I already have read a lot in other topics as well ;-)

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:02 pm
by Elizabeth
Hi Dennis,
Good work. Extending it a little more:

1/What (possibly mental) mechanism attaches a self to a cup?
"Thinking"
Please investigate. Every time a MY, MINE, YOURS, OURS, pops up in the thoughts today, look at it. See how many times this possessive rides a thought. Does it come in AFTER perception of an object, or is it an integral part of the object, in reality? No matter what you think the answer is, looking is needed here.

2/What reaches out and attaches objects, real and imagined, to a self? How does a you know it's a YOUR cup?
'Identification with it? '
Please investigate the question mark. How does identification occur? How does a MY cup attach to an I?

And lastly, you wrote:
'Well language is, to me, always 'inadequate' in that it never really IS what is being spoken about. It is just ABOUT something, so it never really is. It's a tool.'
3/ Absolutely! It points to reality, it is not reality. Are thoughts also pointers to reality, not reality? Is it possible that not everything we think is true?

This stuff seems simple, Dennis, but it's fundamental. Most of us are living a secondhand life, believing what we think about life.
Much love, Elizabeth







This should take a day, doing this exercise.

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:17 pm
by DennDJ
Ok I am going to have to take a little time to answer these ones. Will write back tomorrow :) Thanks!

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:54 pm
by DennDJ
In the meantime I can already answer this one:
"3/ Absolutely! It points to reality, it is not reality. Are thoughts also pointers to reality, not reality? Is it possible that not everything we think is true? "

Yes, thoughts are pointers, descriptions of reality (or past or future events) so yes it is very well possible not everything we think is true, absolutely. It is only true that the thoughts occur. :)

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:45 am
by DennDJ
Hello Elizabeth.

I have noticed that indeed a 'my' thought occurs quite a lot. But not always immediately. What it is that attaches this concept of 'mine' to a me... I have been trying to find that which does that, I can't seem to pinpoint it.

I've been trying to link it to conditioning of the mind, and the idea of separation. From what I gather separation is an illusion (as I had seen in my spiritual experience) and the mind upholds that illusion. So.. is the answer that the mind is the thing that attaches a mine to a me? That seems to be the only thing I can come up with

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:49 am
by DennDJ
One question that keeps popping up from time to time. If there is really nobody doing anything, how does that translate to this conversation? Is this not even happening? Is no one guiding me? is no one doing anything to anyone? Clearly something is happening. This conversation is. Is it just happening, with no one involved?

Re: Invitation to start here:

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:54 pm
by Elizabeth
Hi Dennis,
This is good...
So.. is the answer that the mind is the thing that attaches a mine to a me? That seems to be the only thing I can come up with.

Yes. That's what we seem to come up with, also :-)
For your further consideration, please try this:

What if:

Self is found only in the thoughts about a self.
Can a thought think?

Much love, Elizabeth