Expectations: I think you are going to ask me searching questions about my experience to attempt to lead me to drop the illusion of a permanent self. I think I already have some understanding of that and perhaps some shift already in how I view or exist in the world but I'm searching for a more fundamental sense of freedom from suffering, ideally an end to seeking and more sustained contentment with the world as it is. How will I know I've found it? - perhaps the end to seeking something better, acknowledgement and acceptance of what is. Perhaps it will make me feel lighter or less burdened in my life even when things are not going as I would ideally wish - even more of a sense of humour.
Thanks for accepting me as your guide and for accepting all the various conditions etc. At least here shouldn't be any problems with the time difference :-)
Also, thanks for sharing your expectations, which are not unrealistic, and for your uderstanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.
I'm a bit worried about any large changes - I have a wife I don't want to hurt - I would say we have a loving mutually supportive relationship. But I do fear some radical change that might harm others dear to me.
There really is no need to worry about how this will change you Roger. Just remember, there's no 'you', no separate self, to start with, never has been. So this isn't about losing anything. It's about seeing for yourself, from your own experience, that there's no self-entity to be found. You only think that there is.
Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a 'you', a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.
So, excellent, as I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.
It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.
It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!
I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same.
I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.
Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:
Nothing exists outside the present moment.
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
Ps. To use the quote function, simply highlight the relevant sentence(s)/paragraph(s) that you're replying to in my previous post and press 'copy', then press the 'Quote ' button in the bar above the section you're typing in, then place the cursor in the centre of the two bracketed quote words and then press "paste". That should do it.