Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

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unravelme
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Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:07 am

I am seeking a guide to help me through the trickery of my own thoughts and knowledge about enlightenment - especially based on an awakening experience I had about 17 years ago - this lasted a couple of months before reverting back to my normal consciousness. I have read a lot of Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, listened to Isaac Shapiro, Gangaji, Adyashanti and others. I heard about this site on Buddha at the Gas Pump. Was encouraged to hear of so many others waking up - this gave me hope that it might be possible for me too at last. And I know that 'me' doesn't get to have the experience. But there is overall a sense of being exhausted with the journey of becoming, of fulfilling desires. I've been unravelling from all my control mechanisms over the past five years and am now finding it hard to do anything...except what rises up most obviously as needing my involvement (usually friends or family in need). A general lack of motivation. Still lots of shoulds - which create inner conflict - but also awareness of that conflict and how it is only one thought vying with another - taking turns pretending to be me and to try and control this experience, this life - trying to choose what happens next. Would be deeply grateful for guidance through the 'gateless gate'. Would prefer a private discussion rather than this public forum - unless you can provide assurance that my email, linked to the alias I have used here will not be publicly searchable and linkable to my real name. At least for now.
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:08 am

Have decided to go ahead with this process here in this forum. It is so valuable to read others' journeys and to witness their shifts. Perhaps my story will also help someone else.

Looking around at some of the other dialogues, it seems the first question is often how do you expect it to be after the perceptual shift. As I am keen to begin and have not yet heard from a guide (yes, I feel impatient), I thought I'd begin by answering this question.

For me, the answer is that I expect it to be similar to my other experiences of oneness. The most profound of these took place when I was about 30 years old (1995?), had been meditating a lot over the previous six months and gradually dismantling various aspects of the self-image I'd identified with. I was listening to a lot of tapes by George Pransky and his teacher Syd Banks. It was something that Syd said which caused the final melting. I was in a deeply relaxed state when I went to bed, was lying there on my back when there was this complete inner dissolving - a sense of oneness, of the most profound love I'd ever felt - both being in it and being it - being loved by and loving. I remember there was a moment in which I saw that 'I' was a thought, and no more. Then the thoughts stopped and there was deep silence. There was great joy, a sense of home-coming, of finding and being found, and of laughter that what I'd been seeking had been here all along.

The next day I awoke and that feeling was still with me. There was still a sense of I - of having somehow found something - but also an understanding that there is no I. My mind was quiet and I felt deeply relaxed...this lasted about two months, with more and more a sense of letting go, trusting, surrendering. No longer being the doer, but surrendering to what the moment brought. The whole world looked different - it was like stepping from two dimensions into three. Everything sparkled - such beauty. Such love for other beings and such compassion for their suffering.

One time I remember driving in my car, listening to Mozart and it was as if the lights of the city and the other cars were being orchestrated to synchronise with the notes and rhythm of the music - an inexplicable connection. I felt utterly simple - no longer any need to become anyone, to achieve anything. I remember looking at all the self-help books on my bookshelves and feeling I'd have no need to read them again. I couldn't really explain to my husband or friends what had happened to me. I laughed a lot. People said I looked different - more at peace, an inner joy. I also noticed that all the hooks of need/expectation/control/codependence (whatever they were) between my husband and I had fallen away. There was still love, but no need on my side. He became insecure, did not know how to relate to me. I had a sense that our marriage may not survive this shift. Perhaps that became a fear? I also remember lying on my back, looking up at the sky feeling this ever-increasing expansion and being aware that there was still the thought of I wanting to dissolve into that expansion, trying to push myself into it and feeling fear and pulling back at the same time.

I remember there were still emotional reactions. One time I showed a friend and fellow-spiritual seeker some writing about my perceptual shift. She implied I was just mimicking a teacher we'd both had. There was a huge contraction in my being. Then I spoke with that teacher who helped me to see this was the ego reaction I'd identified with. It dissolved and there was expansion again.

I don't know what happened. I can't remember clearly any sequence of events - just waking up one day and being completely contracted - feeling the most profound despair and loss. It was like being locked up in a dark tower again - and I couldn't find the key t the door our. Went into deep depression for 9 months - even suicidal - lots of counselling. Eventually decided to embrace my human path, to let go of my spiritual aspirations. Sought fulfillment/happiness through more worldly means…but of course none of these delivered. Accepted that my awakening experience had been a blessing, a gift, a vision of human potential, but perhaps not a state I was ready or able to sustain. That there were still other desires and fears more important than self-realisation - like holding onto my marriage, or becoming a successful writer, or being a good mother.

Then five years ago, speaking with a friend, felt huge melting again in my heart - great love. This was the beginning of my unravelling. Many things I'd been attached to and identified with began to fall away, one after another. I could tell you a whole other big story about that. But perhaps what's more relevant is where I am at now.

There are moments, sometimes days, of stillness/peace/flow - moving from one thing to another without resistance. And then there are other days, like today, where all I want is to be free. And life becomes hugely weighty - there is great inner resistance.

I imagine if I were to make the shift which you are offering to facilitate here, the resistance would fall away. I would be simple, guided by intuition and feeling from day to day, moment to moment, rather than the expectations/beliefs/goals I have cultivated over a lifetime. I would be relieved to finally give up this seeking and get on with my life - with simple things like cleaning and decluttering my home, spending quality time with my husband and children, being in nature.

I understand that the shift is the beginning, not the end of the journey, that there will still be habitual patterns to be purified - to be seen through and released - to keep clearing the ground so something new can grow in the full light of day.
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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Derek
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby Derek » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:28 pm

I'll send you a PM about the possibility of private guidance by Skype.

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:57 pm

Thank you so much, Derek, for our skype call tonight. I deeply appreciate the time you are taking to assist me.

To recap on our conversation and the assignment you have given me for the next few days:

I understand that words are labels and not the thing labelled.
I understand and see that thoughts are strings of words that bubble up out of nothing and disappear into nothing.

Where I appear to be stuck is that I still have a strong sense of self - even though I understand intellectually it is false - and even though I've had the experience of it disappearing altogether (or at least the memory of that experience).  

When I look inside I still feel there is a self that chooses where to put its attention, that makes choices and that splits itself into two or more selves which are often in conflict. e.g. One thought says: "I should clean the house" - this seems to create an equally strong thought that "I don't want to clean the house." In the past the shoulds would win. Now the only way I can get things done is when I get out of my own way - when there is flow, without a sense of self doing or not doing, pushing or resisting. There is just action or rest.

So the assignment you have given me is to watch my thought processes very closely (focussing on short time frames of 5-10 seconds) and to see whether I have any control over the appearance or disappearance of this 'solid sense of self' - whether I can predict when it will appear. You said I needed to see for myself in real time the appearance of the thought of 'I' or self at unpredictable and uncontrolled times.

You also said it is the LOOKING that does the work - not finding the right answers for your questions. This is important for me to remember. I'm a 'good' student - so I like to have the right answers.

I will look closely over the next few days and post daily.

Thank you again for your kindness and generosity.
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:06 pm

p.s. I have seen other guides say no other spiritual reading during this enquiry. Does this include the Gateless Gatecrashers book or other Liberation Unleashed youtube videos and audios? I'll avoid other spiritual teachings for now.
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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Derek
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby Derek » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:18 pm

Excellent summary. I enjoyed talking with you on Skype. Yes, watch how this strong sense of self appears and disappears, and see if you are in control of that process. Are you in charge of when the sense of self shows up? Can you make this sense of self do what you want it to do?

It may take less time than a couple of days. In fact, my observation is that people who really go at this make the most progress, and certainly the quickest progress.

I don't have any views as to whether reading in itself will be a help or a hindrance. If the reading prompts you to LOOK, then it's good. If it prompts you to THINK, then it will get in the way of real seeing.

Here's another angle on the sense of self as a supposed inner controller.

What is that sense of self made up of -- in terms of physical sensations, movements of the focus of attention, feelings in the body, and so on? Are these experiential components always there, or do they also come and go? Can you choose which ones happen next?

Plenty for you to look at! Let me know what you see.

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:49 pm

So I am sitting here now. It is nearly 10.30pm. I am tired. "I should go to bed" is the thought that comes up. But I don't. So there is conflict? Or is there just the appearance of conflict? One thought after another. But I am still sitting here, writing in my iPad journal. So does the 'I' who has the thought 'I' should go to bed react with judgement, resignation, surrender/acceptance? Or would that just be another thought? A habitual string of thoughts.

Perhaps that's what happens - there is a habitual chain reaction. I have the thought 'I should go to bed,' but I don't, so then there are thoughts of self-judgement - this is the usual pattern. 'You stupid girl: you will be tired tomorrow. You will make yourself sicker' (I've been recovering from a flu/cough). But this system is not taking action to go to bed. Instead there is energy to enquire - that is the strongest urge. And so, instead of going to bed, I am typing, I am observing and recording my thoughts. There is great intensity and a certain quietness in my being.

The thought arises that I do not want this to take a long time. I am tired of the struggle of seeking. I want to see through this illusion more than anything else in the world - more than I want to clean my house, more than I want to go to bed, more than I want to spend time with friends or family. It is utterly consuming. There is a fire within to understand this.

And maybe I am not choosing this. Maybe this fire is just happening of its own accord. Could I choose to stop this? Could I choose to go back to my ordinary life? To pretend I hadn't discovered 'Liberation Unleashed' and glimpsed again the possibility of finding my way through. Not 'my' way through. But...

The words went. The stillness is deepening. I am aware of tension in my shoulders, my neck; an ache in my calf, thirst. Does any of this constitute my sense of self - or describe it?

Sitting in this quiet intensity, the thought arises that I have been here before; but only once made it to the other side. Every other time I have failed. Who is the I who has failed? Who is the I who believes this is not possible, it is not possible to be free of self?

Now there is awareness of tiredness, and of a kind of pulsating of contraction/expansion - just very slight - it's like breathing.  The awareness includes my whole body and a little beyond it.

When I try to think, or when I think, my awareness is focussed in my head. That's where the sense of self is strongest - located where thought arises.

I want to argue: that there must be a false self that controls and interferes with beingness - otherwise we wouldn't all be in such a mess; the world wouldn't be such in a mess.

How can you end something that doesn't exist?

If it doesn't exist, why is there conflict - within and without?

We have all known people, or been people, who pretend they have no self - yet there is clearly a self operating, controlling. Or is there?

So there is the illusion of self. If I believe in the illusion of self, I will believe in my thoughts, believe in my ability to control my thoughts and my life.

If I stop believing....

But that is another belief. I need to see it actually. And for that, I need to watch even more closely the movement of thought.

Good night and thank you.
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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Derek
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby Derek » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:00 pm

You're welcome. You have a few observations of direct experience in there (tension, ache, pulsating, awareness focused in head), but a lot of thinking, too. Focus on the direct, felt, moment-to-moment experiences when you resume in the morning. Sleep well!

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:09 am

Thank you, Derek. A confronting response - but perhaps the slap I needed. ;-)

Quieter today. Less content in my thinking. More noticing. Trying to see which comes first the chooser/controller/thinker or the thought. It appears to be the thought.

Trying to control what I think next. Can't. It's just happening.

Easier to see this in action or quiet contemplation - than just sitting at my iPad writing. So back to it.

Still a sense of self - but from reading other's posts am wondering if this is being or presence that is being sensed - rather thena separate 'me'. I think I've been expecting that to disappear in some kind of cosmic explosion. But perhaps that's what's real. And only the label is false?

Still grasping, trying....not there yet. But there are glimpses of a gateway.
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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Derek
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby Derek » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:40 am

Excellent! Yes, thoughts just happen.

The sense of self isn't going to disappear. We're just going to examine it closely, in a way that most people never do.

Think of it like a conjurer doing a card trick. Most people get fooled by the illusion. But if you watch it really closely, over and over again, eventually you'll see how the trick is done. Then you won't be fooled by the illusion any more.

So look at the physical components of this sense of self. Notice also that they come and they go.

You're on the right track when you speculate that part of the conjurer's trick is the labeling.

So tell me what you see. What happens with body-sensations and the focus of attention when the sense of self appears? And how does labeling come into the sequence of experiences that take place?

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:07 pm

The sense of self isn't going to disappear. We're just going to examine it closely, in a way that most people never do.

Think of it like a conjurer doing a card trick. Most people get fooled by the illusion. But if you watch it really closely, over and over again, eventually you'll see how the trick is done. Then you won't be fooled by the illusion any more.
Thanks, Derek. This is my first go at using the quote function - so we'll see how we go. You know I'm not sure I really really saw that sleight of hand the first time - it was like I fell through the gate by accident. I did see that self is a thought and there was a complete dissolving in that moment. But after, even though there was great stillness and peace and rest, there was still a sense of a self having done something to have got there - having been through this whole purification process I'd put myself through with great rigour over the previous six months. So when I fell through, it felt like an act of grace - almost a reward for having stripped away so much I'd thought of as myself, had identified with. There was some feeling of achievement which "I" thought it had to let go of.

Which meant when the whole illusion of self resurrected itself in a very solid/dark way a couple of months later, I had no idea how to see through it again.

I have the sense with what you're saying, and what others have said, that if I really get this/see this - it will be permanent. There will be no going back.

And that's kind of scary. So I think I'm still avoiding really really looking deeply for that sleight of hand. Distracting myself with stories of others' awakenings. With descriptions of after. This is what I've been doing for years. Longing for the shift. Imagining after the shift. Feeling the spaciousness/love in the presence of others who have shifted.

Because when I look I can't actually see or find the self I've been believing in for as long as I can remember. I think I'm scared to look too long or too deeply. But I'm kind of pacing around it all in quite an obsessed way.

So tell me what you see. What happens with body-sensations and the focus of attention when the sense of self appears? And how does labeling come into the sequence of experiences that take place?
I am still tired and unwell so I will look more deeply into this tomorrow and report back.

Thank you!
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:09 pm

whoops - didn't quite get the quoting right above - but you'll get the gist!
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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Derek
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby Derek » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:18 pm

Ah, yes, the mysterious quote function!

That sense that someone has done something is what I call "residual selfing." Lots of people go through that stage -- "I have become enlightened" -- only to realize how laughable that statement is. Unfortunately, you got stuck there. At least that's my interpretation.

But back to the real business at hand, the business of looking at what actually is, here and now.

That scary feeling is a very important point, and it's important that we recognize it and know it fully.

So inquire into this fear. What is the fear saying? What are you experiencing in your body? What is like to be with that fear? Let's just stay with this point and not rush on. As I say, it's important.

Of course, the usual rule about posting once a day doesn't apply if you're unwell.

I was thinking another Skype session next Saturday might speed things up, if you'd like to do that. However, it won't be possible the last weekend in October, as I'm going out of town for a long weekend that weekend.

So, yeah, when you feel ready, write back and tell me about the scariness.

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unravelme
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby unravelme » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:00 pm

But back to the real business at hand, the business of looking at what actually is, here and now.

That scary feeling is a very important point, and it's important that we recognize it and know it fully.

So inquire into this fear. What is the fear saying? What are you experiencing in your body? What is like to be with that fear? Let's just stay with this point and not rush on. As I say, it's important.
...
So, yeah, when you feel ready, write back and tell me about the scariness.
Hi Derek,

Not feeling the fear today. Just peacefulness and flow, a relaxation of the system, quiet observing of the movement of thought and how labels creating the feeling of separation - or sometimes emotional reactions.

Had this funny incident today where a friend posted something on Facebook - I thought she was referring to something I'd posted and had a moment of defensiveness/insecurity...but then kind of caught the thought and the whole feeling dissolved.

There's still the thought of me, labels arising, but a deeper awareness or understanding that self is an illusion and I don't have to do anything about it. I don't have to get rid of it or dissolve it, or pray for it to disappear into a puff of smoke. There's just subtler and subtler awareness of this movement and then when I see it, sinking back into being, into flow....whatever that is. Much less shoulding.

Think I've seen or am seeing something I've never really seen before - that this sense of self - or what I thought was self - is actually being. And I don't own it...it's there always. I don't control it. But I have been blocking or resisting the flow of it when I identify with thoughts or when I resist life or judge it or think it should look different. That conflict creates tension in my body and mind.

So there's an embracing of or sinking into being - rather than trying to escape from it into some imaginary experience of enlightenment or oneness.
I was thinking another Skype session next Saturday might speed things up, if you'd like to do that. However, it won't be possible the last weekend in October, as I'm going out of town for a long weekend that weekend.
I'm going away on Thursday for ten days. Won't have internet access over the weekend, but will next week. So won't be able to skype over the weekend.

I'm happy with how things are going. No hurry.

Ciao and blessings. :)
***
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. - John 15, King James Bible

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Derek
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Re: Unravelling (seeking a guide)...

Postby Derek » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:21 pm

Okay, if you're sure that the fear was a one-time occurrence, then we can press on. But it does occur to me that, if you're away from Thursday, and then I'm away for a long weekend at the end of October, communication is going to be intermittent. That will slow the momentum of the process. Anyway, let's see how we get on.

You're right that this is not about any imagined experience. In fact it's not about any experience at all. It's not about sinking into being. It's not about going with the flow. It's not about a new feeling or a new mindset to get into.

It's about seeing what's already there.

So bear with me for a very simple exercise in seeing what's already present.

Take a cup of tea or something similar. Put it down and look at it. Pick it up and take a smell and a sip. Then put the cup back down and look at it.

Now write and tell me what, during this exercise, you actually experienced in direct sensory experience -- sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.


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