Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

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Critterfan
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Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:34 pm

I hope the following is not over-sharing, but I notice that most applicants are asked for some background:

I’m male, 63, fortunate in a happy life/marriage/parenthood/retirement. The happiness is relative of course, but won after long struggles both abstract and material. I have studied Buddhism (and Advaita) since I was a college student (from Alan Watts to Hubert Benoit to Huang Po and other original Mahayana and Theravada translations, but also the new consciousness sciences). I have meditated a lot, especially now that I’ve retired, and gone on the very occasional short retreat.

My inclinations are toward Zen and Theravada. I feel I have been as far as 4th jhana, with an occasional but very convincing transit through 5th to 6th jhana, which seems to be related to Ramana’s “Witness/I AM” position. I’ve also been in some nasty Dark Night neighborhoods, but each cycle, the baseline becomes a little gentler. Ironically, the more attenuated the suffering, the more precisely it bugs me. I guess my standards get higher, but “I crave” to move on!!! ;)

LU feels very much like the right track for an essential transition; Daniel Ingram himself has complimented your approach, which means a lot. I’ve read a lot of the content on LU and watched the wonderful “batgap” interview of Ilona and Elena. In fact, about halfway through reading Gateless Gatecrashers, I felt a real shift in my understanding of anatta -- beyond intellectual agreement (and occasional glimpses during meditation or daily life) to a concrete, deeply-felt validation of anatta as a definitive aspect of reality. It was a “state” change that lasted a few days, but whetted my motivation to pursue this with the experienced practitioners/coaches at LU. “Motivation” is putting it mildly – I am hungry, thirsty, yearning for liberation from this ego-mirage, this enchantment, this "i-virus."

I think I understand the ground rules, I hope I can figure out the posting system, and I would be an eager student.

Ultra-gassho,
Ultra-namaste,
Stan

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cosmiK
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby cosmiK » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:41 am

Hey Stan,

I'll be your guide :)

There are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:

1. You agree to post at least every day.
2. I will post questions, which prompt your investigation and answers.
3. When you answer/report, please do so with 110% honestly,
4. and when you do answer, please answer from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
6. Please learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

-------

Please read the follow article about direct experience (dE), and confirm for me that your experience can be broken down in to these 3 aspects. This initial confirmation shows that we are on the same page and that you don't have some 7th sense that I'm not aware of ;) This will allow us to investigate experience together in a way that is common to our 'human experience'.

http://this-is-cosmik.blogspot.ca/2012/ ... ce-de.html

------

then briefly outline any expectations you have for Liberation/Awakening to no-self?

--

with Love.

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:37 pm

Dear Cosmik,

Thank you for your generosity and willingness. Happy New Year. Your time-stamp says you replied to me 1:41 am this morning. I hope you are in a different time-zone than Eastern Standard where I am (Florida, USA)! :) May I ask where you write from?

I'm going to get back to you later today after pondering the article, but I wanted to immediately respond that I agree to all the ground rules and have studied the quotation function.

Thanks and Love,
Stan

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:17 pm

Excellent, well-written, lucid article. It moved me. Yes, "thought," "sensations," and "sense of aliveness/presence" do comprise experience entirely. No additional categories or 7th sense are evident or seem necessary.

As I read and re-read the piece, there was a subtle onset of weightless happiness or good "humor" (like seeing the point of a very funny but purely benign joke -- but not in a sudden or explosive way). I had to smile or almost chuckle. It felt like a blend between a pervasive, tactile/kinesthetic sensation, and the sense of uncomplicated aliveness or presence cited in your blog. "I" was "tickled pink," you might say. This was definitely agreeable. LOL

NOTE: It would be tempting, if nearly every time the term "I" is used, it were put in quotation marks, but that would be cumbersome and pretentious. However I do recognize that this useful and universally-beloved pronoun is not exactly in the same category as "you" or "she" or "they," which refer to/label observable entities in my experience. Enough said.
briefly outline any expectations you have for Liberation/Awakening to no-self
Pleasure, understanding and reassurance while reading an account that points to liberation is wonderful -- not too common but also not entirely rare. It's like going into 2nd (rapture) or 3rd (pleasant-abiding) Jhana during meditation. (I promise to use spiritual jargon sparingly). Yet these rewarding sensations inevitably fade, either gradually or when abruptly displaced by one of "the thousand natural shocks the flesh is heir to": hunger, fatigue, disappointment, boredom, not to mention conflict, pain, illness or tragedy.

I hope you can help me to recognize more and more vividly the true nature of conscious existence, but not just as an experience of relief, or pleasant "states" and passing moods. I hope I have learned that "liberation" is NOT going to be an unending abundance of glory and satisfaction, the answer to all metaphysical questions, a non-depreciating asset to own lock stock and barrel. Of course, that sort of "enlightenment" mythology has dominated much of my spiritual understanding, making it more of a gratification quest than an "experiment in truth," to quote Gandhi. It has taken me a very long time to become disenchanted with that idol and I'm sure there is in me still a subconscious tendency towards adoration and worship of the Nirvana archetype.

Sometimes I feel I am very close to "liberation" (if I may use that term as this site intends but no longer in quotes) and just need a gentle tug. But I really want to avoid the possibility of talking myself into exalted but transitory moods just to please you or impress people reading these logs, or to feel special. One of the most significant components of the anatta glimpse I had when reading through Gateless Gatecrashers (as mentioned in my "background" post), was feeling that "ordinary is ok" and that searching for the miraculous is a hindrance.

Perhaps the best way for me to answer your question is to promise to resist or see through
any expectations have for Liberation/Awakening to no-self?


Love and thanks,
Stan

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:38 pm

Correction:
like going into 2nd (rapture) or 3rd (pleasant-abiding) Jhana
I meant 1st or 2nd J. I promise no more tech talk unless it's a useful part of the dialogue.

Addendum to answering your question about expectations: I don't necessarily expect the following, but hope it can be there:

I think it was Elena who said in the interview that she was now acting and functioning based on inspiration, not habit or necessity. I would love to do the things that need to be done but not under compulsion to prove anything, show off, or be a good boy.

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cosmiK
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby cosmiK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:54 am

Hey :)

I write from Ontario, Canada.
NOTE: It would be tempting, if nearly every time the term "I" is used, it were put in quotation marks, but that would be cumbersome and pretentious.
Don't worry about using "", just respond naturally as to accurately express yourself and reflect your investigation of present moment experience.

With respect to Expectations it's really important to recognize them simply as attachments to an imagined future / self and as such will not serve you. Attention is best put fully on the present moment, on direct experience, here and now, and on investigating the questions / angles that are suggested.
I meant 1st or 2nd J. I promise no more tech talk unless it's a useful part of the dialogue.
States or special experiences, as you have mentioned are transient, and to expect Liberation to be an unending version of that is unrealistic. Meditative states can be very seductive too. Drop all of that and focus on this investigation. Insight in to no-self is a simple recognition and varies in effect, intensity and description from person to person. It is an important insight to living a truly Awakened life as it destroys the core foundations to illusion - the "self".
Of course, that sort of "enlightenment" mythology has dominated much of my spiritual understanding, making it more of a gratification quest than an "experiment in truth," to quote Gandhi. It has taken me a very long time to become disenchanted with that idol and I'm sure there is in me still a subconscious tendency towards adoration and worship of the Nirvana archetype.
Yeah... drop any images or stories about enlightenment and indeed take this as an investigation in to experience, in to reality, here and now. The investigation eventually triggers the Awakening insight of no-self, and that's the aim here.
the answer to all metaphysical questions,
This investigation provides the basic tools to answer your own questions. A lot of these questions are very simple and almost ALWAYS overlooked, moment to moment, just like this simple insight of no-self is.
One of the most significant components of the anatta glimpse I had when reading through Gateless Gatecrashers (as mentioned in my "background" post), was feeling that "ordinary is ok" and that searching for the miraculous is a hindrance.
Yes... whatever is here, in this moment, IS... and that's it :)
I think it was Elena who said in the interview that she was now acting and functioning based on inspiration, not habit or necessity. I would love to do the things that need to be done but not under compulsion to prove anything, show off, or be a good boy.
Drop all of this stuff too, and just stay focused.

-----

What comes up when you read the following statement?

There is no "you" in reality.

The "person" that you thought you were is simply a persistent illusion.

It never was, and never will be.


How does it feel? What comes up? Be succinct and direct.

with Love.

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:31 pm

Hi Cosmik

Ontario! My wife and I spent three days in Toronto in 2007 and loved it! Great city.
There is no "you" in reality.
The "person" that you thought you were is simply a persistent illusion.
It never was, and never will be.
How does it feel? What comes up? Be succinct and direct.
OK... Focusing on something that not there. Is that what I'm always doing when I'm self-concerned? Is that why it's all so frustrating? I'm a vacuum that cannot be [ful]filled?

I can't really feel anything directly -- I guess that's a clue -- but I still feel surrounding experience as slightly oppressive, slightly threatening, slightly boring, with the nagging awareness that "slightly" often becomes "significantly." Feeling kind of yucky today, after the "giddiness" of yesterday -- but frankly that giddiness became annoying.

I feel some discomfort within this paradox of investigating something that doesn't exist but is naggingly persistent nonetheless. I'll keep trying. I certainly accept the "concept" of no-self, but it's not feeling real, yet.

I will keep going at this.

Is it OK to reread the entry from your blog that you cited?

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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:29 pm

Hi Cosmik,

UPDATE: Later today I was feeling the "unease" I mentioned in my previous post, and I realized that the worst aspect was not the minor sensation itself but the existential resentment at having to experience it (and feelings like it) in the first place -- like how dare such moodiness should bother me! Like I was feeling sorry for myself that I had to go through life feeling less than ideal, even though it's something everyone must endure - the unsatisfactoriness of existence. Then I noticed that this gloomy thought/feeling was mostly about a self which I am surely going to learn does not exist, that this <I-thought/feeling> was just another sensation in the chain. Your direct Experience blog described this well. My "resentment" was far more disagreeable in itself than the common and routinely uncomfortable sensations that preceded it. I have felt better since then, in an ordinary way. I've had these vivid insight moments leading from "tense" to "easeful" mood shifts many times before, and I am far from having reached the Gateless Gate, but I thought I should let you know.

Question: is there a gradual, progressive route to annata or is it once-and-for-all a major transition, followed by consolidation or settling-in?

Love and thanks,
Stan

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cosmiK
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby cosmiK » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:54 am

Hey :)
I can't really feel anything directly -- I guess that's a clue -- but I still feel surrounding experience as slightly oppressive, slightly threatening, slightly boring, with the nagging awareness that "slightly" often becomes "significantly." Feeling kind of yucky today, after the "giddiness" of yesterday -- but frankly that giddiness became annoying.
feeling arise, and that is fine. They can be let be and felt fully. We will be checking to see if they are experienced by anyone? Can you find an experiencer or feeler of feelings in direct experience?
I feel some discomfort within this paradox of investigating something that doesn't exist but is naggingly persistent nonetheless. I'll keep trying. I certainly accept the "concept" of no-self, but it's not feeling real, yet.
Instead of waiting for it to 'feel real', really investigate this supposed separate self. Accepting the concept of no-self won't help. It has to be SEEn directly, and that can be done.

So... look in direct experience.

Describe this self? What in direct experience is this self?

How is it created moment to moment / what are the main elements that combine to form this self?

What is it composed of? How is it separate from "everything else"?
Is it OK to reread the entry from your blog that you cited?
sure. those posts are written specifically for this process and i believe they should help IF dE is looked in to.
UPDATE: Later today I was feeling the "unease" I mentioned in my previous post, and I realized that the worst aspect was not the minor sensation itself but the existential resentment at having to experience it (and feelings like it) in the first place -- like how dare such moodiness should bother me! Like I was feeling sorry for myself that I had to go through life feeling less than ideal, even though it's something everyone must endure - the unsatisfactoriness of existence. Then I noticed that this gloomy thought/feeling was mostly about a self which I am surely going to learn does not exist, that this <I-thought/feeling> was just another sensation in the chain. Your direct Experience blog described this well. My "resentment" was far more disagreeable in itself than the common and routinely uncomfortable sensations that preceded it. I have felt better since then, in an ordinary way. I've had these vivid insight moments leading from "tense" to "easeful" mood shifts many times before, and I am far from having reached the Gateless Gate, but I thought I should let you know.
So... first, relax and put attention in to dE. just notice what is showing up. then... read what you wrote slowly and pay attention to how your "self" manifests and shows up while you do.

in the 6 streams model of describing Experiencing, of describing how consciousness dances itself, which one does the self exist in?
Question: is there a gradual, progressive route to annata or is it once-and-for-all a major transition, followed by consolidation or settling-in?
Is there a person there that is trying to awaken from the illusion of being a person?

is the first person character you label "you" really you?

is there an actual self there?

what is the reason the first person character is labelled self and all the rest of what shows up excluded/externalized/separated?

there is no route to anatta,
and there is no one to walk it.
stare at this simple recognition always.

:)

these words are not read by a first person character, or a person.
a person isn't aware of anything because the person is just a label given to an appearance in Life.

keep investigating this self, this thing you call "I" / "me". What is it that you refer to when you say "I" or "me"?
Stare at this nakedly and directly.

Is it real?

how is it any more real than Leonardo the ninja turtle?
explain.

What makes the self more "yours" than everything else that appears?

~

Look forward to this exploration :)

Love.

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:34 am

Hi :)

You have given me much to consider and lots of homework....

Processing, processing, processing....

I'll get back to you in a day or two.

Love and thanks!

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cosmiK
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby cosmiK » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:04 am

:)

thanks for the quick message. keep writing daily even if it s a few lines as you did,

Lots of Love.

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:48 am

Things seem lighter and less dense, less of a compulsion towards being something, someone, towards "attainment." And yet the inner servitude is as complete as ever it was.

There is a turbulent perplexity but it sometimes seems gradually more transparent, more ephemeral. Could it be that the closer to SEEING, the DRIVE to SEE becomes less (one-dimensionally) urgent?

I am still the "self" that ponders this status, looking for the solution, the resolution, the relief. I want to be free from expectation and wanting to control the outcome. Who wants to be free? Who is it that feels the burden of solidity and ego-servitude?

This fictional self is a vivid protagonist, but in a struggle to dissolve into .... what? and why the struggle? Who is watching the drama?

How do I move beyond trying to solve the puzzle to experience that there was never a problem to be solved?

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cosmiK
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby cosmiK » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:29 am

Hey,

Appreciate the response, but this process works best when the process is followed. I gave you several angles for investigation, all to be carried out through investigating dE, and reporting as best from that. Please refer to my last post and answer the questions from there. Stay focused.

with Love.

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:02 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the clarification. Will do and will respond soon to specific points in earlier post. Have a great day and be sure to get a good night's sleep! From the time-stamp on your post, you were up late, until at least Zero Dark Thirty last night, and working in the wee hours on earlier days as well! :)

Love and appreciation,
Stan

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Critterfan
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Re: Happy 2013! Would be deeply grateful for a guide!

Postby Critterfan » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:04 pm

Can you find an experiencer or feeler of feelings in direct experience?
Not in direct experience -- the experiencer feels like a phantom lurking behind the scenes who disappears every time I look at him.
Describe this self? What in direct experience is this self?
How is it created moment to moment / what are the main elements that combine to form this self?
What is it composed of? How is it separate from "everything else"?
It's not really describable, and it's not a smooth, moment-to-moment process. There are times when the demands of everyday life occupy attention and the self is less obtrusive. But in a moment's notice this self can seem to be everywhere, intimately connected with every experience. It seems separate from everything else not so much as a matter of isolation but because everything else comes and goes while the self is always there - either subtly or blatantly.
in the 6 streams model of describing Experiencing, of describing how consciousness dances itself, which one does the self exist in?
It seems most closely related to the sense of aliveness/presence within the penumbra of feeling/kinesthetic sensation, which is sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant, and sometimes neutral. It seems to locate me in space, at the center of the universe I experience. It's watching thoughts (when it's not directly fused with them) and it's sensing sounds, sights, etc., but is not those sounds and sights.
Is there a person there that is trying to awaken from the illusion of being a person?
is the first person character you label "you" really you?
is there an actual self there?
what is the reason the first person character is labelled self and all the rest of what shows up excluded/externalized/separated?
When I consider the self as such, it feels external, like thoughts and feelings themselves. Sometimes that's just a formulaic perception, but occasionally experiencing the self as an object creates a brief flash of freedom from its constant domination.

If the self can momentarily seem to be a part of direct experience, in the internal direction, is that a way of loosening its grip? By that I don't mean that I can see it, but that it feels like a mixture of the six elements you described. Sometimes when I perceive "selfness" as a factor within this mixture, it seems clear that it is a thought or a feeling or a combination. It's no longer some mysterious Master of the Universe; it's just part of the show. When that happens (such as the moment of a few days ago described in my earlier post that you quoted), I feel free and easy and that the truth is right in front of me. It happened again today as I was leaving a movie theatre. It had nothing to do with the movie, which was about FDR and the King of England.
What is it that you refer to when you say "I" or "me"?
Stare at this nakedly and directly.
Is it real?
how is it any more real than Leonardo the ninja turtle?
explain.
What makes the self more "yours" than everything else that appears?
"I" or "me" becomes a lot less definite when I scrutinize myself, not analytically, but as "nakedly and directly" as I can. Then, the evanescence of the self is manifested, but only for a flash.

What do you mean, that Leonardo the ninja turtle isn't real? I always thought....
Well, at least Santa still visits me at Christmas.

Seriously though, I feel a lot of confidence in this process, but there is sometimes a nagging doubt that either I won't be able to pull it off or that it will happen and I will be disappointed, like, is that it? So what? Is that weird?

Love and gratitude,
Stan


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