looking for a guide

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looking for a guide

Postby Vonna » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:20 pm

Just learned about LU on the batgap interview. I've been doing spiritual practice for a few decades now. It's clear to me when I look that there is no "me" here, it's unfindable. I do remember the moment in 1989 when I first saw that I am actually no-thing. It was so obvious I wondered how I could have missed it. I think I might like to participate in this forum. I think the first step might be to be "tested" by one of the founders--yes? And then assigned a color and take it from there. Am I right?


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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Tompi » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:29 pm

I think the first step might be to be "tested" by one of the founders--yes?
Hi Vonna,

it's almost like that. If you feel you've seen through the illusion, there are five questions to answer. It helps us to see where you're standing and perhaps ask a few more. Take your time to answer them. It's ok to post your answers one by one if you like. Ok? So, here they are:

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?

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Vonna » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:13 pm

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your questions.

1) There never was a 'me.' There is no separate self. 'Me' is like a pattern upon which nothing was ever formed. There is nothing here (no me) that is separate or apart from everything else. No.

And yet, I am neither Vonna nor am I not Vonna.

5) The first 'push' that inspired me to look was LSD around 1970. I then took up Zen and, although I worked very hard at it and it seemed to help others, I did not get my first glimpse directly through Zen practice. Apart from that first amazed perspective on LSD, the first 'sober' moment of clear seeing happened suddenly. It was a bit like looking at an optical illusion in which one's perspective suddenly flips. It was 1989, I remember the year but didn't mark the date. I was at home, relaxed and reading Ken Wilber, "No Boundary." I couldn't tell you the page or quote it exactly. As I recall, Wilber took the reader through a process of elimination: not this, not that. Provisionally he made a distinction between "absolute subject" and objects. In this simple process I recall looking for the "absolute subject" through this process of elimination. It suddenly became readily apparent that the "absolute subject" was not the body nor any sensation therein, nor was it any aspect of the so-called mind: thoughts, beliefs, memories, feelings, all of it belonged to the domain of objects so could not be the subject. It was quite instant, I saw all at once that what was left of this "subject," when all objects were set aside, was . . . nothing! I saw that I was nothing. But yet there I was. Aware. I saw that I am beyond everything in the material world, gross as well as subtle. I remember that one of the first feelings was of being untouchable, un-harmable, there was nothing "here" to be hurt or humiliated. How could you hurt nothing? I had never been hurt in any way; it was impossible. There was nothing in me to change or affect in any way. I was immutable. It was very simple and very obvious, so much so that I wondered how I could ever have missed it. But I had. 40 birthdays had come and gone and I never before noticed that I was not a thing, a self, a person, an ego, a body, a mind, you name it. I was none of those things. I was nothing. But yet still here, an aware nothing.

Although seeing that I was nothing was sudden, seeing that I was everything, or inseparable from everything, was gradual.

4) Because an un-findability inquiry worked so well for me I would use the same approach to point this out to others. That is, guide them to look for the self in aspects of the mind and in aspects of the body. Through this process of ruling out this and that, what remains (awareness itself beyond identity) can be revealed. I would point them to direct experience and avoid conceptualization. This is crucial. I would invite them to see that without concepts, without relying on memory, there is no body in direct experience, nor is there a mind as an independently existing thing. I would use deconstructive dialogue in which they would be invited to investigate and see that all their beliefs are conceptual constructs only. I would have them look for boundaries between themselves and perceptions such as hearing, touching, seeing etc in order to directly experience that no boundary lines can actually be found.

3) I think I've touched on this above. It feels freeing, liberating. The walls come down, the bottom drops out of the bucket. All is openness, like space, with no line of separateness to be found.

2) I can't say when the illusion of a separate self started without going to theories and ideas taken from what I've heard, read or been told. I prefer to stay with direct experience and I have no memory of a separate self starting. From my earliest memory around age three I already thought of myself as a person, as a 'me.' Although I will say that with that first seeing on LSD it was very much like a remembering of something forgotten, a remembering that I was not what I'd come to think I was. Instead I was This.

I can say that this illusion of a separate self is a cultural bias. Within the common worldview the world is made of material substances and of separately exiting objects, including separately existing selves. The paradigm of separately existing things is strongly reinforced through our language structure and through cultural buy-in at large. It's generally accepted to be the way things are, without question. It's a very strong tide to swim against.

What is the illusion of a separate self? It's the idea, the belief that there are actual lines or boundaries between what is me and what is not-me when actually there are none.

How does it work? I'm not sure what is being asked here. How does the separate self "work?" Could you ask it another way? I'll see what response emerges. The self works by constant self-referencing thoughts that dance between the idea of time, of past and future. The self holds-itself-together by story telling, by digging in memory and by projecting what it will do in an imagined future. It constantly defines itself by comparison to others and by evaluation of how it's doing. The self is made largely of value judgments: I'm good, I'm bad, I'm superior, I'm inferior, I deserve better, I'm unworthy, I'm smart, I'm stupid, I'm pretty, I'm homely, I'm young, I'm old, the list is endless, isn't it? The self is very insecure even when it feels smart, rich, powerful, strong, etc because on one level it always knows that it is all temporary. The next loss or blow is hiding around the corner and ultimately there is death. The self commonly handles the looming certainty of death by denial and by storytelling that it will live on in some sort of post-life state or existence, perhaps in "heaven" where somehow it will continue to be the same me it's always been.

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