Thanks for your last post – it was really helpful
Good. I'm glad.
Ok, so I realised that after looking in each area the first time, and not finding a self, every time since I've been looking and telling myself that there is no self to be found instead of questioning and not still-not-finding.
Yes, this shows two important things. First, the seductive power of thoughts to fool 'you' into believing something that's not the case and second, the fundamental importance of actually looking
in direct experience. I'm still doing it. Accept no substitute!
So today I've been looking, searching, and finding nothing but experience, and no self anywhere to be found in it. It's been a pretty pleasant day! Since the falling off of the belief mentioned in my last post, the doubts I was having before haven't been getting in the way, though they are still there I can see them as just part of experience.
Staying present in actual experience has been easier and I've been noticing myself being a little more open and spontaneous with others (fear had tended to get in the way of that for me – and I'm sure there's still work to be done there).
Really good stuff.
Another thing I noticed today is how I've been assessing myself to see how I'm getting on, so to speak. I've been doing it by imagining future situations and picturing how I might experience them differently... oops... more than a little silly! It's definitely been better to just notice the present.
Mmm, that doesn't necessarily just go away. It's merely thoughts arising, pretending there's an actual past and an actual future, instead of just thinking happening, right now. It's born out of long-embedded habit but, once the self is seen to be an illusion, noticing all of this becomes far easier and more frequent, and so therefore does being present, as you're now noticing.
Even after what you have said I have to admit that it would feel a little uncomfortable to say I'm 100% convinced whilst experiencing the nervousness I'm experiencing in my gut (even though I can accept it clearly as just experience), but if I'm not 100% I think I am pretty close to it. I'll keep looking even though I'm not expecting to find anything, or to be overwhelmed by thoughts in the way I was yesterday.
I know it's just a figure of speech and I get exactly what you mean, but I was just wondering what 100% would literally mean in this connection, and how it would ever be measured. Anyway, no matter, if, as now seems to be the case, you can't find a self anywhere in direct experience, and you've no doubts about that, and there is only reference to a self in thought, i.e. as a concept, which you know can't be real and needn't be taken seriously, and you no longer have any doubts about this that you take seriously, that's it. Let me know if this is now so.
I've realised that I've been confused about conflict - when I think I should do one thing but am doing something else, or am thinking about something else. I wasn't sure quite sure what I needed to do to resolve the conflict. I've realised that there isn't any conflict - just different thoughts and different sensations, all part of the same experience. Nothing needs to mediate, or resolve anything, or work anything out. There's experience and eventually a 'decision' is made, and that's all there is to it. It's quite a relief.
It's good that you can see that nothing needs to be done with what is, right now. It's only believing our thoughts that things should be different to the way they are that causes us to believe that to be the case, and so to suffer.
You seem to have clarified a lot of residual stuff. But before we move into the final phase, I' d just like you to look at all of this from a different perspective. As always, from direct experience:
With 'you' revealed as a thought story, what remains?
What is aware?
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.