I'll do my best to leave aside my (parrot) "knowledge". There will be of course no further reading in the meantime.
1. What are you looking for? What do you expect to change?
I began my quest 15 years ago because of a "mind disease". It was a kind of subtle unsatisfaction that was killing me softly even if my life was far from being sad or unlucky. Even at a peak of happiness I was always waiting for the shallow sadness that would follow.
After Healy's "Brutal Beginnings" something changed abruptly inside of me. I almost physically felt that the idea to meditate to reach a state of interior calm and the disappearence of life's gray-ness were not what I was searching for.
I wanted the truth.
I look for a change of perspective that will not change anything around me but my interpretation of reality.
I've been pushing a door for years without being able to open it. I contacted you to explain me the meaning of the sign on the door (written in a language I don't speak). It is possible you will tell me to pull it. I would like to be able to move freely in and out after the door is opened.
I cannot put aside anymore the idea not to open it.
Any other "target" would be meaningless being in the dream world. For a decade I was following a wrong target, believing I would experience God and all the angels. Now I couldn't be less interested in any mystic experience. I just want to "feel" the truth. Later I will choose what to do with it.
I feel like Neo at the beginning of first Matrix episode. I "feel" there is something important I'm missing and I'm just an inch from it.
To read what liberation really was has been so devastating that I abandoned meditation immediately and together with it a lot of other "good boy" behaviours.
What do you expect to change?
Nothing really. I only would "feel" what I already "know" intellectually: that free will does not exist, that "my self" is just an evolutionary trick created by the brain to quick our development as a species, that sufference is just the identification with this "fake self". Self's job is to anticipate problems and create insatisfaction to force our animal mechanism to move on to correct them and evolve doing so.
2. Please read these points about expectations:
I rearranged them where the answers are the same.
This is not a way to escape your daily life.
I did it with meditation. On the opposite now I would like to feel life living through me.
I believe this is my only expectation.
This is not about gaining something extra, becoming something special.
This is not something that will lead to accumulation of money or things.
This is not about cultivating an altered state of consciousness.
This is not about becoming a holy, good, moral or better person.
I'm not interested in superpowers, neither things, nor to be considered holy or wise. I'm not interested in the dream world.
This is not a trick of the mind, or twisting the mind into believing certain thoughts.
This is not about stopping thoughts, changing thoughts, getting rid of thoughts.
This is not about having a certain thought or sequence of thoughts.
I have a knowledge about the brain and how tricky it can be.
This is one of my doubts: as the self is just a thought-loop, created from nothing by the brain, how can I be sure the liberation is just not another thought-loop? It will be hard for you to help me to untangle this idea.
This is not about gaining a particular bit of knowledge.
This is not a belief, religion, or a philosophy, it not magical or mystical.
This is not about convincing you of anything.
I would ask Aladdin to erase my knowledge and I am not going to accept any new scrap of it.
The time to read is finisehd and I feel the need to experience truth. Nothing less. Nothing more.
This is not going to lead you to eternal peace and happiness, it is not about happiness.
This is not about freedom from emotions and intense feelings.
Agreed. I am not searching a way to escape from sadness or pain. I want to be able to live them out as they happen.
This is not about getting rid of self, ego, I.
I did it for so long that I'm just curious to see what this ego thing is or isn't.
I idealized it as an enemy whose task was to paint in gray my days.
I feel now as I have been afraid for so long of an inexistent monster under the bed.
This is not a solution to problems in relationships.
This is not a way to get free of depression or other diseases.
This is not a way to make the story of you disappear.
I don't expect any magical solution from it.
Ok, I just found another subtle expectation: I hope that "after" life will become easier. Not because the problems disappears but because I can accept them as part of life.
This is not a self improvement program.
Agreed. I see this as something I simply cannot avoid doing.
I don't do it to grow but because I don't really have any other choice.
3. Now about some things you wrote in your initial posting
Consider and tell me who is it who would 'cross the gate'? Who is there to do that?
According to my feelings "to cross the gate" means to show the brain itself a fondamental flaw in its rules and beliefs. This would crash the loopchain that keeps alive the thought of a self. In front of evidence the brain can do nothing else that accept the fact.
I'm a programmer of electronic devices. It is very easy for me to compare the brain to a machine, a black box that reacts to inputs signals and calculate an external output to act on them. What I believe we are doing during this session is to create a new set of inputs that will heat the internal circuit so much that the current will need to find other ways to flow, changing the output forever.
Who is this 'fake self'? Is this a second person? Does it have opinions?
I feel it doesn't exist but apparently there is an "observer" somewhere.
As there is no free will an observer has no value, but I experience it anyway. Be it a thought or a soul or anything else, I could bet it doesn't exist intellectually, and bet it exists factually. That's the tricky part.
Who is there to help? Please persuade me that there is someone there, if possible.
So there is nobody to help. You are just trying to activate a new set of inputs and crash the internal circuit.
I'm in an irrational loop:
No free will -> the observer is completely unuseful because it believes to be able to modify reality but it cannot -> an observer is experienced anyway -> the observer believes there is free will when it is evident it cannot be.
About free will, perhaps I need to tell you why I am so sure it doesn't exists. I'm not a philosopher, by the way, and I am far from any deep thought.
I thought about Hitler. What if I was born from the same egg and sperm, same DNA, same parents, friends, experiences. What could make a difference to avoid so many deaths, if I was him? Same inputs, being the machine the same, would give the same outputs.
I found only 2 possible explanations for a "good" Hitler: the presence of a soul or a random neural throw of dice.
If the soul was the "hidden pilot" that could overcome the machine autopilot, it would be so hidden that a soul choose to live like Hitler and make what was done. My soul could have behaved otherwise. This would mean to accept a dogma (the soul exists) and the fact that we are not in control of our actions because something hidden is pushing the buttons inside the box.
If it was a random dice throw that would light a different neurons, it just means that inside the machine some contacts discharge randomly and their calculation is imperfect.
In both cases there is no free will as we intend normally: the possibility to choose an action.