Page 1 of 7

I am so close

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:00 am
by tsconner
What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
I am currently reading the Gateless Gatecrashers book and I could follow everything the seekers were experiencing, up until the point of "crashing through" the gate. I know I am on the verge of seeing clearly, and I just need to see clearly what is holding me back.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?:
I'm looking to see clearly that a separate self does not exist. I expect that I will be able to see clearly that my actions, thoughts, emotions, etc. are not coming from a separate self, but that there is no separation. I was so close to having a glimpse, a direct experience, and maybe I did for a brief minute or so. Everything felt like the volume was turned up just a hair, and I could experience sights and sounds as if the "interference" was turned down. Then it felt like I just kind of drifted back into separate self, but knowing that I might have experienced something. I'm trying to clarify the experience, and have it end up being more direct and obvious.

Also, anxiety was experienced after the heightened awareness, and thoughts arose saying things like "what does this mean for my life?" is it just about gaining clarity in those moments and realizing there's nothing to do about the thoughts except just to notice them, acknowledge them, and go about my business not distinguishing it as anything in particular to pay attention to? Should I just focus on maintaining awareness and seeing the anxiety as just another appearance in consciousness? Or is there value in following such thoughts to get to something deeper regarding what is holding me back?

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
I have been doing the seeking thing for about the last five years. It wasn't until recently that I stumbled upon the real possibility of truth-realization. I started taking it seriously; reading Jed McKenna and Peter Ralston and several other books about direct experience, and watching Leo's enlightenment videos from,

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what? On a scale from one to ten (ten being most ready). :

Re: I am so close

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:29 am
by Ilona
Hi Tsconner!
Welcome to LU!
Glad you made it here.

We can have a conversation and see where it takes you.

Good stuff that you read GG and McKenna. Looks that you are very close!
So what's on the way? How do you experience separateness? What is separate self in your own words? Separate from what?

Kind regards

Re: I am so close

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:51 am
by tsconner
Hi, Ilona! Thanks for the reply.

1) So what's on the way?
2) How do you experience separateness?
3) What is separate self in your own words?
4) Separate from what?

1) It feels like what's on the way is a disidentification with everything that I considered 'I'. I had this fleeting lucid moment where it felt like I experienced exactly what Jed talked about in one of his books: my gaze being enough to turn something into ash--nothing--because it relates to no one, no 'I'.

2) I experience separateness every time I investigate to see where the 'I' is. I believe 'I' isn't real but that counts for nothing in the truth business. It's like the 'I' scurries back into its hole ever time I try to investigate it. Like I'm sitting on top of the hole and, as if it's a rabbit or something, saying to myself "alright, come on out, I know you're in there." Something is keeping me from realizing that I'm talking to no one, there is no hole, no rabbit, and from laughing about how silly the whole thing was and to just say "alright, well that's over with."

3) Separate self to me is being so aware that every thought, emotion, experience has this 'I' charge to it. All of my programming about my likes and dislikes that play out day to day creates this "emotion" that seems to say very clearly 'I' don't like this, 'I' like this, 'I' am separate from these experiences because they are impinging themselves on 'me' and 'I' have to make a decision about how to respond to the positive or negative stimuli.

4) Separate from what. Good question. The best way I can answer it for now is to say that it feels like there is this big space inside me that pushes everything else out to be able to ask that very question. I stop what I'm doing, and I say "separate from what. Hmm good question. Let's place attention on this for a few minutes." Because it feels so voluntary it feels like this feeling of "voluntariness" is separate from the "isness" of the mechanical world.

Thanks again for the reply and would love to continue the conversation. And I really enjoy reading your accounts in the book! Good signposts.

Re: I am so close

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:31 pm
by Ilona
Thank you for answers, that gives me a good sense of where you are at.
Let's start digging.

What I like you to do now is read the below statement, watch what shows up, thoughts, sensations, resistances, relaxation or whatever is happening and write it down.

There is no self, no I at all, no I that attaches to thoughts or emotions, no self that is separate from life. No manager, no controller, no doer, thinker, feeler. All that there is is life flowing freely, AS thoughts, feelings, sensations.
There is no witness, no centre and no entity in charge that makes choices.
There is a story about I/me, but that story is thoughts about thoughts.

Consider this and play with it.
Record what comes up immediately.
What would be hardest to let go of?
What would be different if that is true?

Sending love.

Re: I am so close

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:05 pm
by tsconner
Laughing. Ha! No self. Then there's this part of me that senses deep down that nothing is there. I have these background feelings of anxiety that want to bubble over if I witness first hand that no self is there doing any of this. I feel like I'm going to lose control. I feel like my life could change so dramatically and I would have no control over it. Those are what the thoughts are saying, anyway. Do I buy into them? Yes. Am I afraid? Yes. What would it mean for me to discover that there was no self? Would I waste away and be apathetic to everything? Again, these are what the thoughts are saying, and 'I'm' buying into them. Thoughts about my mom and family come up and say things like "what if this whole awakening thing goes horribly wrong and my family has to witness my destruction?" "Are you prepared to live with that?" These kinds of thoughts arise. Also, thoughts about awakening come up as "you'll have to witness your entire non-existence for the rest of your human life, and you'll have to resign yourself to complete nothingness while still in the flesh. A walking, breathing nothingness."

On the lighter side of it, thoughts arise "if everything did burn to the ground because of this realization then at least I'll know without a shadow of a doubt that 'my family' isn't my family, and their hurting is no different than a random stranger hurting for me." It sounds weird to say that that is a lighter thought. Probably because those kind of thoughts take 'me' out of the equation. Ahhh...I think there is something there about that realization. If there is no me, then there is no one that can hurt my family or anyone else. And hell, I sure wouldn't be able to hurt 'myself'.

I think what would be hardest to let go of is actually the letting go itself. I hear some pretty horrible stories from McKenna and Steven Norquist about the horror of no self. I've been on this path, slowly, for about 7 years; started realizing most things weren't true around 5 years ago, and slowly became this kind of bitter, luke-warm kind of person because I knew how much wasn't true. I've had pretty strong feelings for a while now that things like love didn't actually exist in the mechanical human culture, among other realizations; things most people wouldn't allow themselves to see.

I say all of that to say that I'm not actually sure if there is anything that would be exceptionally hard to let go of in the world, just the letting go itself. And because I have no idea what is on the other side of awakening, that fear of not knowing is what is really hard to let go of. At least in my everyday world, even experiencing family, I can weigh up the consequences and say "well, it's either awakening and possibly lose everything in my world, or just skip the whole awakening thing." With my 'control' intact, at least I can look over into the deep dark hole and think about jumping forever and just decide to never do it. The hardest thing to give up would be that control. Making the decision to jump off means 'I' have no control over what's to come. From that point on I'm just along for the ride, and whatever extreme existential horrors await, if any. I don't know.

What would change if no-self was true? I would stop doing things that my 'self' did if it were for trying to improve or better the 'self'. Maybe I'd stop going to school, or spending time with my family, or reading books, or becoming dispassionate concerning knowledge about human culture altogether. My mind keeps wanting to play the slippery slope/all-or-nothing game with this stuff. It thinks that if I awaken then I'm basically going to be stuck on the side of the road in a ditch with passersby pitifully giving me food and water. That was pretty funny, my mind got a kick out of that one :)

If I step out of the fear for a moment and think about that question without it: I'd probably immediately lose interest in entertaining thoughts and activities that were solely driven by ego. Then I'd probably be relieved that there is no 'self', then I would fluctuate when something in the world that meant a lot to me was realized for what it was (which is nothing) and I'd experience pain at knowing its nothingness. Then I'd probably just keep growing in the light of no-self by shedding things that are completely irrelevant and finding beauty in other things, new things maybe. And seeing beauty where I saw none before. I'd probably still have to keep shedding attachments to ego for a long while, and some of them will probably be very painful, but I would probably know deep down that it's all going to be okay, and that fundamentally there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

I was just reflecting on how powerful thinking is. The two contrasting paragraphs above could have been written by two separate people. Fundamentally, it boils down to belief, belief about life after awakening. It shows the mind feeds on fear to motivate itself into taking self-preservation steps. Haha! And it does a great job! It told me, damn son, you could lose your mind and end up in an insane asylum living in complete abject horror for the rest of your mortal life with no reprieve, maybe it'll continue after you die too! Ha, and yeah, that's what the mind is there for--to protect this body. If it has to use fucking with the mind to get my body's attention then, by god, that's what it's gonna do! It's all speculation and, now to be more honest, I don't see truth having a deleterious effect on me. Fear is the only thing standing in front of awakening, and it's like one of those missiles that pops open and spreads hundreds of smaller warheads out as it gets closer to its target: fear sees what I'm doing (questioning) so it shot a missile, and all of the fearful things I said above were the hundreds of tiny warheads shooting at me so that at least one will get me.

I know this reply is long, and I thank you so much for reading it, but I think it was valuable for me to write all of that to gain those two realizations: that fundamentally what I am afraid of losing is 'me'--'me' dying and having some stranger take his place. And secondly, how well this organism is suited to inventing very compelling fear-inducing stories to keep me from trying to get rid of this 'me'.

It's all fear. To keep me from dying.

Re: I am so close

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:40 pm
by Ilona
Brilliant, thanks for pouring it all out here.

Consider this:
When a child believes in Santa, he has an image about this super amazing creature that brings gifts to all children. He believes this fantasy that parents have him and he believes that it is true.
What happens to Santa, when kid realises that it was fiction?
Does Santa die?
Does Christmas end?
Is family not enjoying festive season?

What happens to the kid?
Does he go insane? Does he become like a vegetable?

Me, as a separate from life and others entity, is a fiction.

Now look, there is no I, is it true?

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:14 am
by tsconner
It makes sense intellectually that there is no 'I', but this self-referencing mechanism is very strong whenever I perceive pretty much anything. I automatically relate everything to my 'self'. I pay close attention each day to how the 'self' is responding (thoughts/feelings/emotions) to whatever I'm currently doing, and I am becoming more resolved that there is no 'I' doing all of this thinking/emoting/etc., but I don't "get it" yet. Maybe spend a lot of focused quiet time each day just sitting alone and focusing on my direct experience and attempt to be conscious of no-self?

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 2:07 pm
by Ilona
It's actually very simple, you just need to look. It's not about thinking and understanding. It's about recognition of what is always has been the case.
What I mean by looking is this:
If I ask you what colour are your socks, you can answer from memory, think about what you did in the morning, what socks you buy and come to the answer through thinking.
Or you can look down, see and tell.

So if you look for the I the same way, where is it?
Is it visual, can you see the self?
Can you hear it?
Touch, smell, taste it?

Or is it a thought?

What's true in your experience?

Sending love

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:09 pm
by tsconner
I summoned a bit more courage to just look at what is going on, and I see what is going on. This sadness is coming over me, but I know what the sadness is--just more thoughts. Thoughts that say "you're losing everything. What are you going to do with nothing to hold on to?" I see through the self-referencing mechanism. Sadness occurs, then the mechanism applies a picture of me in my brain, with another me from my first-person perspective "being sad" for the me that it is looking at. I really can't believe it's this simple. More thoughts arise: "what about my future? What am I going to do? Do I just wait for death?" They're just more thoughts, and then a panicky feeling arises, and then more thoughts that are influenced by the panicky feeling. Then focus gets put on the thoughts in order to figure out if there is some action 'I' need to take because of these uncomfortable thoughts. Then 'I' just drop the focus on these thoughts and go about my business.

The self-referencing mechanism comes up in another way too: a thought arises, then 'I' notice the thought, and it becomes 'my' thought. Just the shifting of focus onto a thought is enough for the 'me' to kick in and take ownership of the thought.

I'm going to keep watching what arises in experience and see if I can deepen my understanding of the self-referencing mechanism. Is it really that simple? Ha!

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:22 am
by Ilona
"you're losing everything. What are you going to do with nothing to hold on to?"
very good question. what is there to loose? is dropping beliefs that are in the way of peace and clarity really a loss?

what is that claims the thoughts to be mine?
can you watch the mechanism of owning thought and describe, what you see, where is that owner? or is it a story about the owner? is the voice in the head the owner of thoughts?

sending love.

Re: I am so close

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:16 am
by tsconner
I'm pretty neurotic, and what immediately comes to mind when asked "Is dropping beliefs that are in the way of peace and clarity really a loss?" I think, how do I know that it's going to lead me to peace and clarity and not nihilism and living a dispassionate life? It's a belief that is very real to me and could be true, in my mind.

It seems that the voice in the head is the owner of thoughts. It feels like all thought comes to this control panel where the voice starts talking and analyzing the value of the thoughts that have been coming into mind. I know I'm not the voice itself, but what is provoking the speaking, I don't know.

It feels that something is looking out for my interest (intellectually I believe it to be the brain but, once again, I'm trying to get direct experience). I don't want to just accept that it's the brain that is being the voice, because it obviously doesn't feel that way.

I guess I'm stuck at the spot where I feel that the voice is coming from somewhere that is 'me.' Something is looking out for this organism (the brain, obviously), but I can't translate that belief into direct experience.

Re: I am so close

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:53 am
by Ilona
think, how do I know that it's going to lead me to peace and clarity and not nihilism and living a dispassionate life? It's a belief that is very real to me and could be true, in my mind.
What would it look like if you lost that belief and be open to what is?

What are you afraid to loose?

Have a look as well, where thoughts are coming from? Is it a me that thoughts come from or though me comes from same place like all other thoughts?
Wait for the next thought to arrive and see, where is it coming from and where is it going?
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Do you know what the next thought will be?
Are you the thinker of thoughts, and if so, how do you do that?

Don't think, but focus and look, is there a thinker?

Is I a thinker or a thought?

Sending love

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:52 am
by tsconner
Hey Ilona,

I've been paying close attention to how this 'I', this 'thinker' works to produce the illusion of self. I have become conscious of many more subtle ways that the illusion works since the last time we communicated. I don't see anything left to uncover about the nature of self, and although it is grounded in experience I still haven't gotten that "ahhh, I see" moment.

Just to give an example of where my understanding is: I'm sitting contemplating the nature of self, then my roommate knocks on the door loudly, startles me, and asks which steak I want cooked. My thoughts were a little scattered, so I what I said in response didn't make a lot of sense. Then when he shut the door, I thought about how silly I sounded. And this whole time from when he knocked on the door to when the thoughts of sounding silly came up, I was watching everything. I could see when I was attaching a feeling to a sense of self. I saw the picture of myself in my head believing I sounded silly. I saw how the sensation of being startled was immediately shifted into a thought about a me that was startled, and then became a memory (another thought) of a me 'getting' startled.

When I say that 'I' see how this sense of self is working, all I'm saying is that the very subtle ways that thoughts work to create the illusion of a self is becoming manifested in consciousness. And it seems like all of the tricks that thought uses to perpetuate this sense of a self have been uncovered, but there must still be work to do, because I have not had that moment of "ohhh, I see." I have had panicky, anxious feelings when I got really close to seeing completely through the whole thing, and I think I might have, but I didn't get hit with this fact, so to speak.

Do you have an idea of where I might be stuck at?

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:20 am
by Ilona
If there is fear that needs to resolve first. So I want you to look at the fear. What is that scares you if you face no self? What is that needs to be protected and from what exactly?
What is behind the fear? Take a look and tell me what comes up.

Sending love

Re: I am so close

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:51 pm
by tsconner
Behind all of the fear is thought. Not knowing how the realization of no self will impact 'me' is thought. That fundamental sense of not knowing what will happen when the sense of self evaporates is just thought. That is all it could ever be. Now it's just this sense of fearing fear. But there is no identification with the fear. Fear of fear (or something like that, I'm not really sure right now what is going on) is there and it's just being noticed, just being watched.