Seeking with trepidation

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ali79
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Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:27 am

Hi!
I came to LU from the wikipedia page on "ego death". I have read some conversations from gg book. I have also read the rules and FAQs here. I am a bit skeptical but I am willing to give it my all.
Thanks,
Ali

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Tue May 28, 2013 10:08 am

Hi Ali,
I came to LU from the wikipedia page on "ego death"
Interesting. What got you looking at the wikipedia page on "ego death"?
I have also read the rules and FAQs here.
Cool. I'd gladly work with you as long as you agree to two things:

- Write from your own direct experience. Leave theory and speculation at the doorstep and simply look at your actual experience right now. That is all.
- Seriously engage this. You don't have to post every day per se, but once you've started this investigation properly, don't lose the momentum.
I am a bit skeptical but I am willing to give it my all.
That's wonderful. Where would we be without skepticism? It is deep, thorough and sharp skepsis that will get you through the gate, so never lose that.

Let's begin by simply looking at what brings you to this forum. What do you expect of this?

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:59 am

Hi Damon!

Thank you so much for responding. I will do my best to write from my own experience and seriously engange in this endeavor.

I really appreciate how much time and effort the guides here put in for helping others. It is amazing!
Interesting. What got you looking at the wikipedia page on "ego death"?
The Sufi tradition focuses a lot on the importance of reigning in the ego. That was my inspiration. I have been trying things like doing the opposite of what the selfish "me" wants. For example, if I coveted something I would give it away and things like that. This has helped a lot but I am now looking for a more permanent solution which got me searching for the term above.
Let's begin by simply looking at what brings you to this forum. What do you expect of this?
I think that the ferocious tenacity with which people hold on to an identity separate from everyone/everything else is the root cause of the world's ills. I am here to loosen up my hold on this identiy of separation.

I expect that if I succeed, I may be able to experience reality more objectively; without tainting it with my beliefs, thoughts and feelings. I might pursue further spirtiual work, more effectively, once I stop to identify with self/ego.

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Tue May 28, 2013 12:56 pm

Wonderful! Let's dive into it then.

The way this works is I ask very specific questions based on your observations.
These questions have one single, simple purpose- to direct attention to the actuality of the present moment and what is hidden in plain sight right here, right now.
The Sufi tradition focuses a lot on the importance of reigning in the ego. That was my inspiration. I have been trying things like doing the opposite of what the selfish "me" wants. For example, if I coveted something I would give it away and things like that. This has helped a lot but I am now looking for a more permanent solution which got me searching for the term above.
I'd like to make it clear that, unlike what that Wikipedia footnote suggests, Liberation Unleashed is emphatically not concerned with "ego death". In fact, term sounds completely ridiculous to me. The point of this process is to guide you to the clear and direct seeing of why such notions are absurd.

There is no religious, moral, ethical or spiritual agenda here. None whatsoever. Just a simple, direct, no-nonsense pointing to what is always already the case.

Yeah?

Ok.

This process is concerned with examining the notion of self, I.

The last two sentences in your post provide us with plenty of material to work with and they are extremely good examples of the type of conceptual knot we are actually dealing with here. Take your time to read them back to yourself, slowly:
I think that the ferocious tenacity with which people hold on to an identity separate from everyone/everything else is the root cause of the world's ills. I am here to loosen up my hold on this identiy of separation.

I expect that if I succeed, I may be able to experience reality more objectively; without tainting it with my beliefs, thoughts and feelings. I might pursue further spirtiual work, more effectively, once I stop to identify with self/ego.
Let's take this simple sentence:
I am here to loosen up my hold on this identiy of separation
What is the I that is here to loosen a hold?
What is the I that is holding on to an identity?
What is the identity of separation exactly?

Where, in your direct experience of this moment, are these I's located?
How are they experienced?

Take your time to examine what I'm pointing to. No need to answer straight away. Just focus and look. If anything is unclear at any time, let me know.

Have fun!

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Wed May 29, 2013 11:54 am

I have been thinking about your first three questions and by thinking I mean talking in my head about them in words and sometimes using images. I am mentioning this because I doubt if this is the direct experience.
What is the I that is here to loosen a hold?
What is the I that is holding on to an identity?
My initial attempt at defining I was that it is the mind/body that is typing this message right now. However, on further reflection the mind/body existed probably before there was an I. I is a construct that arises from the need to differentiate among many.
What is the identity of separation exactly?
To elaborate on this, I had to do a thought experiment. Suppose, a doll in a room, comes to life. As it opens its eyes, it sees the room. At this point, it doesn't know where it's body ends and where the room starts. It's at one with the room.

It has the urge to see the rest of the room and is surprised to find out that it's able to get up and move. The curtains across the room seem interesting. It wills them to come closer but they do not. Eventually, the doll realizes that the body obeys its will unlike other objects. Still there is no separation from the room and it's objects.

Some time has passed and the doll is now very familiar with everything in the room. If one day, as it wakes up, the curtains are gone. Wouldn't the doll perceive that loss as if one of it's own limb went missing?

Then one day, an invader tribe of dolls arrives and beats up our aborigine. They confine it to it's own corner in the room and beat it if it enters the invaders territory. Our original doll realizes in time that those other guys are separate from it. They have their own agenda and that part of the room is... theirs. They leave it alone in this corner so that would mean this corner is... it's.

The invaders have also laid claim to the lovely curtains. They are gone. A great sense of loss. In time, the doll should get used to the curtains as something separate from itself (for it's own sanity) so much so, that if someday they catch fire, the doll will probably think, good riddance... weren't mine anyway. The separation of identity from the room is complete.
Where, in your direct experience of this moment, are these I's located?
Why do you use plural for I?
My first assumption was that "I" should be located somewhere behind my eyes as that's a major area of perception but being in the present moment, there is nothing which could be pointed out as I.
How are they experienced?
I am trying... What I experience in this moment is breathing, physical sensations, thoughts and gap between thoughts accompanied by a feeling of anxiety. I wonder if the anxiety is there because I have read other people's experiences that fear accompanies reflecting on these questions. However, I wasn't expecting it consciously. It came out of the blue.
The last two sentences in your post provide us with plenty of material to work with and they are extremely good examples of the type of conceptual knot we are actually dealing with here.
I am here to loosen up my hold on this identity of separation
I couldn't see what you were getting at before working on your questions. Reading it now, still not sure. Do you mean that since there is no I that there is nothing for it to loose it's hold on?

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Wed May 29, 2013 12:48 pm

I have been thinking about your first three questions and by thinking I mean talking in my head about them in words and sometimes using images. I am mentioning this because I doubt if this is the direct experience.
Of course, direct experience includes thinking, but cannot be reduced to it. Liberation does not come as a thought. This isn't about getting a correct image or thought, but in directly and clearlys seeing the reality of the non-existence of a self. That seeing of course informs thought and the conceptual, but it is a non-conceptual, visceral knowing that we are pointing to here.
My initial attempt at defining I was that it is the mind/body that is typing this message right now. However, on further reflection the mind/body existed probably before there was an I. I is a construct that arises from the need to differentiate among many.
Yes. This, and your wonderful doll story make it clear that you have a good conceptual grasp of the construction of the identity of separation. That's a good first step, but it's not what we are pointing to here. We're aiming to ascertain, for ourselves, in the intimate experience of the present moment, whether or not it is actually the case that there is no self. At all. Anywhere. In any way.
Why do you use plural for I?
Because your choice of language suggests several selves. A self that has a self. A self that has an identity. A self that wants to loosen the hold on that identity. That is the crux of the illusion.
My first assumption was that "I" should be located somewhere behind my eyes as that's a major area of perception but being in the present moment, there is nothing which could be pointed out as I.
Stay with this sensation for a bit. Examine it fully, completely. Can you describe it in more detail? What makes the sensation in this area feel like it is YOU? What is its EXACT location? Its shape, size, substance?
I am trying... What I experience in this moment is breathing, physical sensations, thoughts and gap between thoughts accompanied by a feeling of anxiety. I wonder if the anxiety is there because I have read other people's experiences that fear accompanies reflecting on these questions. However, I wasn't expecting it consciously. It came out of the blue.
Some anxiety is to be expected in this examinaton, because we are questioning deep-seated assumptions about the fundamentals of experience. Can you allow these uncomfortable feelings to be completely present, while continuing the inquiry?
I couldn't see what you were getting at before working on your questions. Reading it now, still not sure. Do you mean that since there is no I that there is nothing for it to loose it's hold on?
If you were to see what I was getting at here, we would be done, so that makes sense.
I am here to loosen up my hold on this identity of separation
The insight that this forum was built to help people arrive at consists of a fundamental shift in the perception of experience, a shift that will instantly make clear why this sentence is profoundly meaningless (please note that I'm just using your sentence as an example- it's a perfect example of the confusion at the heart of language and hence our thinking and living).

So, you have described in vivid detail the process by which an identity is formed, making it clear that the "identity of separation" is a learned construct, a set of behavioral habits. Yes?

Now I'd like to shift our attention to the other side of the equation. The one that is able to HAVE or NOT HAVE an identity.

What is that I?

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Wed May 29, 2013 6:12 pm

That seeing of course informs thought and the conceptual, but it is a non-conceptual, visceral knowing that we are pointing to here.
This! This is just awesome. I have had enough of concepts :)
Stay with this sensation for a bit. Examine it fully, completely. Can you describe it in more detail? What makes the sensation in this area feel like it is YOU? What is its EXACT location? Its shape, size, substance?
So, I sat down, closed my eyes and asked where is I located. I waited and repeated. I felt sensations in the stomach/solar-plexus area. They didn't feel like ME, but that's how the body responded to the question. Felt like a shape of a ball with size between a tennis and a baseball. The feeling of anxiety I mentioned is in this same area. It felt somewhat akin to the funny feeling one sometimes gets on a swing. I continued the inquiry and this feeling subsided. It felt like I will be sobbing/crying but didn't. There was sadness for a while. This was followed by a sense of peace and calm. The whole exercise felt cathartic and did not last more than ten minutes.
The insight that this forum was built to help people arrive at consists of a fundamental shift in the perception of experience, a shift that will instantly make clear why this sentence is profoundly meaningless (please note that I'm just using your sentence as an example- it's a perfect example of the confusion at the heart of language and hence our thinking and living).
This is perfectly fine. You don't need to pull your punches :)
Now I'd like to shift our attention to the other side of the equation. The one that is able to HAVE or NOT HAVE an identity.

What is that I?
I will get back to you on this tomorrow.

Thanks!

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Wed May 29, 2013 10:23 pm

So, I sat down, closed my eyes and asked where is I located. I waited and repeated. I felt sensations in the stomach/solar-plexus area. They didn't feel like ME, but that's how the body responded to the question. Felt like a shape of a ball with size between a tennis and a baseball. The feeling of anxiety I mentioned is in this same area. It felt somewhat akin to the funny feeling one sometimes gets on a swing. I continued the inquiry and this feeling subsided. It felt like I will be sobbing/crying but didn't. There was sadness for a while. This was followed by a sense of peace and calm. The whole exercise felt cathartic and did not last more than ten minutes.
This indicates you are on the right track. Keep looking, keep an open space around this feeling of anxiety, this uneasiness, this funny feeling. Allow it here completely. Experiment some more with this and keep the focus on the question- what is I?
I will get back to you on this tomorrow.
Great! Looking forward to reading your observations.

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Thu May 30, 2013 9:54 am

This indicates you are on the right track. Keep looking, keep an open space around this feeling of anxiety, this uneasiness, this funny feeling. Allow it here completely. Experiment some more with this and keep the focus on the question- what is I?
So, I continued with "What is I?" in a comfortable position and eyes closed. The funny feeling started in the same solar-plexus/stomach area but was subdued compared to yesterday. I repeated the question and an answer started popping up: "Nothing". Then the sensation also moved up a bit. I would say four inches up and size reduced to a golf ball. After a while, I spontaneously started repeating "I is Nothing". With that I wanted to cry badly I controlled myself from crying aloud as I was in a public place. I got a little teary eyed again just now writing this. I spent some time till I was calm and ended the exercise. Again the whole process took less than ten minutes. I think I will spend some more time on this unless you suggest otherwise.
Now I'd like to shift our attention to the other side of the equation. The one that is able to HAVE or NOT HAVE an identity.

What is that I?
That is consciousness.

Thank you so much.

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Thu May 30, 2013 10:08 am

So, I continued with "What is I?" in a comfortable position and eyes closed. The funny feeling started in the same solar-plexus/stomach area but was subdued compared to yesterday. I repeated the question and an answer started popping up: "Nothing". Then the sensation also moved up a bit. I would say four inches up and size reduced to a golf ball. After a while, I spontaneously started repeating "I is Nothing". With that I wanted to cry badly I controlled myself from crying aloud as I was in a public place. I got a little teary eyed again just now writing this. I spent some time till I was calm and ended the exercise. Again the whole process took less than ten minutes. I think I will spend some more time on this unless you suggest otherwise.
Ali, although I still think you're on the right track here, watch out not to turn this into a ritual of sorts. The only way this is going to work is if the desire to directly find out the actual, concrete, simple truth about the self is stronger than anything else.

But keep doing this- keep an open space around this knot in the stomach area and the associated feelings and emotions. This is a natural defense mechanism against what is perceived to be a threat. Look close. Look closer. What is being defended here?
That is consciousness.
*Speculation alarm- BEEP BEEP BEEP*

So there is a consciousness, or consciousness itself on this side that is able to have or not have an identity?

Watch out here- this is the subtle trick the self-illusion plays. It retreats into the realm of the subtle. Consciousness, awareness, beingness. Any and all such concepts are simply more subtle versions of the same non-thing.

Look again and look closer.

Having or not having an identity- is there, in your direct experience RIGHT NOW, any entity to whom that applies?

What is YOU?

Look!!!

It is ridiculously simple.
So simple, that we've overlooked it.
Thank you so much.
With love, Ali.

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Thu May 30, 2013 12:09 pm

What is being defended here?
The illusion of the self. Who is defending it? The illusion itself?
So there is a consciousness, or consciousness itself on this side that is able to have or not have an identity?
Consciousness itself is able to have or not have an identity. But consciousness itself is a construct. So, there are layers upon layers?
Having or not having an identity- is there, in your direct experience RIGHT NOW, any entity to whom that applies?
No... having or not having an identity, I am not sure what that means any more...
What is YOU?
I just am...

I don't feel very well...

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Thu May 30, 2013 3:53 pm

The illusion of the self. Who is defending it? The illusion itself?
How is that possible? How can an illusion do anything?
Consciousness itself is able to have or not have an identity. But consciousness itself is a construct. So, there are layers upon layers?
No. Simpler. How many layers are there to this experience? Right now- how many layers are there to this experience?
I just am...
Is that true?
What is the I that just is?
I don't feel very well...
Don't fight this. Settle into the experience, don't resist. Just look... is it true that there is no self?

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Thu May 30, 2013 7:04 pm

Hi Damon,

There was a pretty big paradigm shift by the end of the last post. I was barely coherent at the time. A lot of things that baffled earlier make sense now. I guess we need to figure out if this is real or more delusions.
How is that possible? How can an illusion do anything?
The mind or whatever learned behaviors are protecting the illusion of the self. It feels as though up to this moment everything was being experienced through the lense of this illusory self. Therefore, it appeared real as there was no other reference point from which to see, until I saw . Hope I am making sense.
No. Simpler. How many layers are there to this experience? Right now- how many layers are there to this experience?
There is just one experience in this moment.
Is that true?
What is the I that just is?
Yes it is definitely true. I don't really know what this I is. However there are labels for it which I won't mention because I don't want to trigger your speculation alarm :). It is the background awareness(sorry) that is present througout.
Don't fight this. Settle into the experience, don't resist. Just look... is it true that there is no self?
Yes, it is true. When I earlier said that identity of having or not having is not making sense anymore, I wasn't able to describe why it was so. It is because there is nothing there (no self) to have an identity.

Peace!

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby Damon Kamda » Thu May 30, 2013 9:48 pm

There was a pretty big paradigm shift by the end of the last post. I was barely coherent at the time. A lot of things that baffled earlier make sense now. I guess we need to figure out if this is real or more delusions
Fascinating! Judging by what you write something has definitely shifted... Can you describe what happened?

Is there a self? Was there ever?

Spend some time exploring this new seeing. Test it out. Enjoy...

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Re: Seeking with trepidation

Postby ali79 » Fri May 31, 2013 2:27 am

Fascinating! Judging by what you write something has definitely shifted... Can you describe what happened?
Part of the following is going to be a rant, I opologize in advance. I am still going to use "I"; communication would be awkward without it.

I don't know what happened. It seems nothing short of a miracle that it did happen. It's like looking at the puzzle drawing where there is an old woman and young one within the same drawing and you can see only one of them. You are stuck with the old one and try as you might you cannot see the young one. Your friend can see both. He tries to make you see, he tells you, "hey look at this small shape, this is the nose of the young woman" and you say in frustration, "But that's the mole on the nose of the old one!". However, your friend keeps trying, you keep trying and then something wonderful happens, your perspective shifts and you see the young woman. Thank you Damon, my friend.

Whatever it was it had something to do with the direct pointing, direct experience and a leap of faith and everything came tumbling down. I have now got the opposite case, it is hard for me to see things from my old perspective. I am amazed how easily you can see from both perspectives. I guess this comes with further looking or helping others out?

I claim that at the root of all this is language. It is impossible to have a concept of self without language. A mango is not a mango. The word mango is a symbol in my mental world, that signifies a funny shaped sweet yellow thing in the real environment. But that sweet tasting funny looking yellow thing is not equivalent to the symbol "mango". "Mango" the symbol is not real.

This is even more problematic with "I". Because "I" in my mental world has no counterpart anywhere in reality. So,"I" is a symbol that is not real and that signifies nothing.

This should be tought in every school to every language afflicted person. If or when they see is their own decision but atleast these concepts should be tought. This is pathetic. This is the human condition?

A few days earlier, I had decided that I want out. I was keeping my self busy in every waking moment prior to that and I was fed up with hiding from myself. I was prepared and had started to pursue "enlightenment" or whatever for the rest of my life in every waking moment that was free from life supporting activities. I wasn't even sure if it could be done before death. Is this it? I want my money back :)

There is no self, there never was.


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