Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

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Dave
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Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:39 am

Hi everyone, I guess the subject line says it all (can you sense the frustration?)

Intellectually it all seems very clear and simple, and every attempt to find this mythical being that I refer to as "I" turns up empty. So, how the heck can "I" be so darn frustrated when I know full well that there is no "I" to be frustrated?
Also, I don't know if this is even relevant, but when I search for the I and I come to that place of stillness, my ears start ringing, does that mean anything?

Thanks in advance for any help offered.

Dave :)

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odemira
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:33 am

Hi Dave,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed forum, I am happy to guide you to see clearly how that feeling that you have of existing is created, when intellectually you know you don't. Then you'll be clear that there is no self and there never has been.

Let's get started, yes? There are a few 'rules' here which help the process of seeing through the illusion of the self work better and faster:

1. Post here at least once per day, that keeps the momentum going.
2. I'll ask you questions that point you where to look, please look at each in depth and then answer each one.
3. Be 100% honest in your replies. I want you every time to tell me what you directly experience and not what you know.

If you're happy to work within these guidelines, let's get started on some questions.

Tell me about your search for 'no-self to date, and what your expectations are of what life will be like for you once you have seen its non-existence. And then tell me where this 'I' of yours shows up, and where you already have looked and not found it, then we can take it from there.

The ear ringing is an experience, for sure. Just notice and enjoy for now!

Happy looking!
with love
Odemira

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Dave
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:59 pm

Hi Odemira,

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it! Your guidelines are acceptable, and I can't wait to get started :)

I'll try to not meander too much about my history. Tibetan Buddhism came into my life around 20 years ago when I became an avid meditator, which I did until I came to live in America in 2000. During that time I had many wonderful experiences of what I can only describe as "spontaneous ecstasy", these didn't usually last for more than a few minutes, came from nowhere, and went back to nowhere. I also had an experience that Tolle describes in perfect detail at the start of "the Power Of Now", though I wasn't suicidal :) (I was actually on a break at work! I didn't know how to understand that experience at all and all I remember of the aftermath is being weightless, and seeing clearly that there were absolutely NO problems in the world. A few hours later that experience also just melted away.

I have to say, that even though the Buddhist thing resonated with me, I was never truly a religious person, the whole "devotion" thing just didn't sit well at all.

Since I came to America my spiritual search seemingly went into the background though never completely left me, as I was always peeked whenever I saw or heard anything remotely spiritual. I read "The Power Of Now" several years ago, which resonated strongly with me, especially as I had had the same experience as Eckhart. I've since read all the Tolle stuff.

I have to say that I was pretty much in a slump until one day, owing to a set of circumstances I can't even begin to describe, I went to U-tube and typed "presence" and for the first time came across the non-dual teachers. I was instantly on fire with this stuff, and the fire doesn't stop.

When I do the inquiry I very quickly come to a place that the mind can't go, in fact I no longer need to do the inquiry even. If I'm suffering in any way for example, I just ask myself "how would this feel from the perspective of consciousness?" - as opposed to the perspective of the separate individual that is "Dave" - and the fog lifts, I find "myself" in a "space" where the pain is still clearly there, but "I" am not there to experience it.

Here's the bind, firstly this doesn't always work, which makes me think that I'm merely playing mind games with myself. Second, even if I AM on to something, it seems that "I" am manipulating, or using emptiness, and therefore inevitably just strengthening the erroneous belief in a separate self.

My expectations are that I won't have any more expectations! I can see how different desires are JUST desires, centered around a fictitious idea of something that isn't even real, and the whole thing is just exhausting! I'm tired of being a slave to my conditioning, that makes me want things I don't want, hate things I don't hate, act in ways I don't want to act etc. I want to be happy with what is, and if that means giving up being "me" I'm fine with that :)
I think that once I finally see through the lie for good, my life will be pretty much the same as it is now, only I'll be better able to function in it e.g., I'm a massage therapist, and I believe that one of my greatest attributes is my compassion for my clients. At the moment it's a lot easier for me to be compassionate towards the pretty girls than the guys that come to see me -how messed up is THAT- That seems to clearly be societal conditioning, which hopefully will fall away.

The "I" shows up in pretty much everything I do of course, but markedly in my head, where I constantly reinforce the belief in me by rehearsing conversations that I'm never going to have with people. Usually the conversations are about non-duality -like I'm some kind of authority on the subject haha!!- as I don't think about much else these days.

I think that about covers everything you asked about, thanks again for helping me with this.

Dave :)

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odemira
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:06 pm

Hi Dave

Thanks for your detailed email, gives me a good picture of where you are.
The "I" shows up in pretty much everything I do of course, but markedly in my head, where I constantly reinforce the belief in me
Exactly. 'You' are just a belief, with no substance. An imaginary character, like Batman and Santa Claus
I find "myself" in a "space" where the pain is still clearly there, but "I" am not there to experience it.
Yes, 'you' aren't there to experience it, you never have been. So let's get started on looking at how this belief in 'you' gets created.

The way that we do this is by focusing on what you directly experience, rather than on anything conceptual. So spend some time looking at these questions. By looking, I mean observe as if you were conducting a scientific experiment on the subject of the body/mind of the man known as Dave. Watch what happens, notice how 'you' operate. OK?

I want you to conduct some experiments, focused on each of your senses in turn. Spend some time noticing in great detail what happens, and post it here. You're looking to notice the sequence of what's happening in your brain - do you see something and then a thought arises? Or is it the other way around? Or is something else happening?

While we're working together, can you stop reading non-duality books, Ekhart etc? It will be a hindrance rather than a help. More knowledge is not going to help here, come with a 'beginner's mind', ok?

Happy looking!
with love
Odemira

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Dave
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:53 pm

Odemira....

Yes I'm with you all the way, I've been addicted to U-tube videos for 12 months at least, but I already quit them in preparation for this - been clean for a day already ;) -

"do you see something and then a thought arises? Or is it the other way around? Or is something else happening?"

Either things trigger thoughts, or thoughts spontaneously appear.

Sorry about the short answer, I can't think of anything more to say =\

Also, I'm sorry about the formatting, you "quote" feature is toying with me!

Dave :)

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odemira
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:06 pm

Hi Dave,

So glad you've cleaned up your Youtube act ;) !!
Also, I'm sorry about the formatting, you "quote" feature is toying with me!
At the top of the one on one forum page, there's a great post by Damon Kanda on how to use the quote feature.
Sorry about the short answer, I can't think of anything more to say =\
You won't see through the illusion of self by thinking, sorry (: . If you could think your way, you'd probably have already done it. You've got to observe yourself, like a scientist watching a lab mouse.

Start just with noticing your sense of hearing (easier than seeing as there's often a gap between sounds, easier to notice what's happening). What exactly happens step by step in terms of the sounds and the thoughts that follow?

with love
Odemira

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Dave
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:57 pm

Odemira,
At the top of the one on one forum page, there's a great post by Damon Kanda on how to use the quote feature.
Thanks :)
Start just with noticing your sense of hearing (easier than seeing as there's often a gap between sounds, easier to notice what's happening). What exactly happens step by step in terms of the sounds and the thoughts that follow?
The sound comes into awareness.

I analyze it and measure it against memory to see if I know it.

If I know it, then it gets a label and is filed away "car" "bird" etc.

If it's unknown then I try to know it, or figure out what it is, so that I can label it and put it in the "known" file.

Wait, something here isn't right?? I think that sometimes a sound is known right away, before thought even touches it! Hmmmm Yes......

The sound happens.....and it's known, but there isn't a gap between the sound and the knowing, it's one event. Then the mind comes in and creates some story about it, and labels it.

Hmmm just for an instant then I saw that just as it is, but now I'm thinking I'm just recalling Rupert Spira teachings haha!

But seriously, when I actually take the time to look, there's clearly no space between the experience and the experiencer. In other words they are the same, and experiencer is just a label......so in reality there is only the sound, but then a story about the sound is created and "I" am born.

Dave :)

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odemira
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:40 pm

Hi Dave
Hmmm just for an instant then I saw that just as it is, but now I'm thinking I'm just recalling Rupert Spira teachings haha!
Yes, that can be the trouble of too much knowledge! No problem, the key is to keep observing what's happening in the body & mind. The 'experiences of "Dave"' will be far more use here than all of Mr Spira's writings!
The sound comes into awareness. I analyze it and measure it against memory to see if I know it. If I know it, then it gets a label and is filed away "car" "bird" etc. If it's unknown then I try to know it, or figure out what it is, so that I can label it and put it in the "known" file.
Yes, you've noticed what happens. Sensory input (hearing) triggers thought (labelling). The mind is designed to work out what objects are and to give them a label, a name. If they already have been identified, then you noticed there was no need for any thought to be given. And when they're not recognised, the questions and thoughts begin.

But - do 'you' really do this analysis, this filing, this identifying and labelling? Or does it happen automatically? Can you find an 'I' that does these things? You've actually answered this already:
The sound happens.....and it's known, but there isn't a gap between the sound and the knowing, it's one event. Then the mind comes in and creates some story about it, and labels it.
But seriously, when I actually take the time to look, there's clearly no space between the experience and the experiencer. In other words they are the same, and experiencer is just a label......so in reality there is only the sound, but then a story about the sound is created and "I" am born.
Yes - suggest you observe this happening with all your other senses, so you really get to notice how the process is happening. Notice over and over how the 'I' is only a label that the mind gives. Let me know how you get on.

Happy looking!
with love
Odemira

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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:28 am

Odemira,

Thanks for all your time and effort, I'll follow your suggestion and get back to you tomorrow.

Dave :)

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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:20 pm

Odemira,
Yes - suggest you observe this happening with all your other senses, so you really get to notice how the process is happening. Notice over and over how the 'I' is only a label that the mind gives. Let me know how you get on.
Ughh!! this is so frustrating! I appear to vacillate between "apparent" clarity, and then fogginess. The worst of it though, is that even at times of seeming clarity, for example when I see that the body is just walking all on it's own, I realize that there's "me" realizing that the body is walking.

I feel like I'm playing hide and seek with the invisible man :(

Dave :)

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odemira
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:42 pm

Dave,

Take your goggles off and really look. Work it baby, don't give up. That's just mind playing up! I know it's frustrating when you want to get clear so much, but keep going, you'll get there.
the body is just walking all on it's own,
YES. Doesn't need a Dave.
I realize that there's "me" realizing that the body is walking.
YES. Or put it another way - a thought arises in the brain of the man people call Dave.

So there is always some sort of sensory input (seeing, hearing, moving etc) happening, and then a thought arises. Can you notice this happening? Try closing your eyes, then opening them, and looking around you. Notice what the thoughts that arise are saying.

Let me know what you notice - keep going, you'll see this. :)

with love
Odemira

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Dave
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:57 pm

Odemira,
Take your goggles off and really look.
Haha! It seems they come off spontaneously now and then, but if I "try" then there's that darned "I" involved again =\
don't give up.
I don't think that's a possibility some how :)
So there is always some sort of sensory input (seeing, hearing, moving etc) happening, and then a thought arises. Can you notice this happening?
It's like the mind comes in and claims ownership so fast that the gap between is too small to catch. I'm a very accomplished "me" :P.
I'm listening to the neighbor's dog bark (as I have all night as I tried to sleep) and the realization comes that it isn't just hearing, but "listening", "I" am "Listening". I know that "I" is just a thought, and was never anything other than a thought, also that thought can't listen, that listening is just happening........but I feel that "I" am listening, and now the barking seems like a huge distraction, preventing me from not being "me" lol what a game =\ Maybe I'm too tired at the moment it all seems like a huge effort. But how can it be an effort to NOT be what I'm not anyway?

Leave this with me another day, I'll see what unfolds.

Thanks Odemira!

Dave :)

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odemira
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:40 pm

Hi Dave

I wonder if you have some misconceptions about what this 'no-self' thing is all about? It's much simpler than reading the books would have you believe!
but if I "try" then there's that darned "I" involved again =\
We're not trying to 'kill the I'. We're looking to see how the 'feeling of an I existing' gets created. Once you've seen how that happens, then the illusion of the self will fall away. Like believing in Santa Claus - once you knew he wasn't real, the belief falls away, even though you may carry on playing the 'Santa's coming' game. So 'I' will be involved for now, that's not a problem.
It's like the mind comes in and claims ownership so fast that the gap between is too small to catch.
We're not looking for the gap between sensory input and what the mind says. We're looking to notice exactly what you have noticed - there's a sensory input and a thought happens. One type of thought that happens is, as you've noticed of ownership, 'I am doing this'. What other types of thoughts arise?
"I" is just a thought, and was never anything other than a thought, also that thought can't listen, that listening is just happening........but I feel that "I" am listening,
Yes, listening/hearing are just happening. Sensory inputs. And then a thought happens. And then another thought. Maybe a feeling happens. And so on. Continual process.

Keep noticing this process, and observe how this 'feeling of you' gets created.

with love
Odemira

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Dave
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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby Dave » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:58 pm

Odemira,
I wonder if you have some misconceptions about what this 'no-self' thing is all about?
Yes I wonder about that also! it seems the simplest thing to stop the mind and just be, but then the mind comes in again and claims ownership which leads me to think "I" am doing it wrong. The program has been running a long time I guess.
We're not trying to 'kill the I'. We're looking to see how the 'feeling of an I existing' gets created.
I understand that there's no "I" to kill. Seeing how the "I" is created is tripping me at the moment, it all seems very intellectual.

Overall there seems to be more moments of seeing, but nothing concrete as yet. I feel like I'm looking right at what I'm looking for, and not seeing it.

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Re: Why do I feel I exist when I know that I don't?

Postby odemira » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:11 pm

Hi Dave
it seems the simplest thing to stop the mind and just be, but then the mind comes in again and claims ownership which leads me to think "I" am doing it wrong.
We're not trying to 'stop the mind', we're only looking to see what is happening in reality - to notice that you see something, then a thought arises 'It's a car'. And so on.
Seeing how the "I" is created is tripping me at the moment, it all seems very intellectual.
It's the complete opposite of intellectual, it's just looking at what's happening in direct experience.

Let's try an experiment with direct experience: Put your hand into a bowl of cold water for 10 seconds, and observe the experience, step by step. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you think? Write it down in detail, step by step. Ok?
I feel like I'm looking right at what I'm looking for, and not seeing it.
Yes, cos you're not looking FOR anything, you're being asked to look AT what is happening. As your hand goes into the water and stays for 10 seconds, look AT all that is happening in that 30 second experience.

I know this is frustrating to you, Dave. Keep going!
with love
odemira


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