But from your perspective now can we start with the first set of questions that take it from there. How does that sound?
How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?
Via my thoughts, especially my negative emotions, my perceptions, beliefs . When I am responsible for my sons' wellbeing, when I express my opinions on a given topic, when I make a decision to do this or that.
For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience
I see the "I" as sitting in the centre of experience. In my heart area.
is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent,
It feels fixed and permanent.
is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate
It is inside the body, the I does change - forms new beliefs, ideas, etc - it does feel separate.
does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience
When I am going through emotional pain, which is almost always, it seems so much more real , alive and solid. Once, when contemplating the no "I", I cried, as I felt saddened that, in reality, there is no one there. The "I" was identified with heavily then. At other times, when I am deep into my macramé, or perhaps during a meditation session, the I seems to disappear. So at times it is extremely obvious, others, not so obvious.
Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality,
Intellectually, I know that the "I" is made up of all of the above. Because, even though I feel as though there is an I, when I search within, it is know-where. Even in my direct experience, I can see that the I is just thoughts , feelings, emotions etc.
does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else?
I feel as though it does, yes. Nothing else.
Is there a time when the self is not experienced?
I have lost the sense of I when I am deep in my macramé work, or whilst watching a movie, for example. I snap out of it and think, where was I? There was no I around . There was absolutely nothing.
Can you tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be resides? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?
This is confusing for me as, I have seen that there is no I intellectually, yet my mind persists in identifying with it. I do not know why this is happening. But yes. for me, the I lives around the heart area. When I look, though, its not there or anywhere.
Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?
Only thoughts make it seem as though something can exits outside the present moment. I will do this in the future, I did this in the past, etc. But it seems all there is is now.
In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
I get mixed up with this question. By direct experience, you mean thoughts, emotions, perceptions, what is seen, touch taste, etc. I thought the world was permanent, the sky etc. I often take things quite literally, so bare with me.