Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

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Trevor
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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:33 pm

I can't find anywhere that thoughts come from. They come out of nothing. They arrive from nowhere.

Story seems like it can be controlled. It seems like I chose to control my story by trying find out what the hell is going on by posting on this forum and it seems I like I can choose to continue reply to you in this conversation or not reply and therefore control the story. BUT... when I look for what it is that makes the choice tries to do the controlling of the story I can't find it. I see it just happens. Controlling or choosing happens out of nothing from nowhere. And it's assumed from habit that there's a me doing the controlling. Controlling does happen, choices do happen but how and by who or what I don't know. I don't know what the next thought is gonna be but I guess it's going to be some kind of thought about the thinker, the controller, the self, what I am. I do not know how the story will go tomorrow.

Thinking happens. A lot of thinking happens. And most of it is about the story of Trevor on either a micro or macro level. But I don't know if there's a thinker. Thoughts seems to happen here, I can't find a location, thoughts are invisible, they don't appear outside in the world, they seem to appear here inside my head which sounds silly but that's how it feels to me. Other than the location and the fact that my thoughts are only known by me I can't find a thinker. I can't find the one that does the thinking. I can find the one that receives or is exclusively party to my thinking. That is this space here where my head is. That is where my thoughts happen. That is where the story arrives. But i can't find a creator just someone who hears it.

Thoughts come and are then acted upon or not acted upon. But I can't find a thing, a me that does the acting, it feels more like I am the acting, I am not playing a role, I am that role as long as that role lasts but there is no one or no entity separate from the acting that is doing it.

I can't see any control that 'I' has. I CAN see control, planning, desiring, wanting, fearing, etc. I can see attempts to control fear, desire etc but there is no separate entity 'I' that is doing this. There is fear about what is going to happen, there are attempts to control what is going on, and these things cause feelings. There is 'I want this', 'I won't do that', 'I should be more like this" "I did that really well" going on but this 'I' doesn't refer to anything other than these desires or attempts to control. These 'I's are just thoughts. The big I of awareness behind them has no control it just silently observes but this is not the I that wants anything. This is just being alive and aware.

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Trevor
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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:28 pm

I can't find anywhere that thoughts come from. They come out of nothing. They arrive from nowhere.

Story seems like it can be controlled. It seems like I chose to control my story by trying find out what the hell is going on by posting on this forum and it seems I like I can choose to continue reply to you in this conversation or not reply and therefore control the story. BUT... when I look for what it is that makes the choice tries to do the controlling of the story I can't find it. I see it just happens. Controlling or choosing happens out of nothing from nowhere. And it's assumed from habit that there's a me doing the controlling. Controlling does happen, choices do happen but how and by who or what I don't know. I don't know what the next thought is gonna be but I guess it's going to be some kind of thought about the thinker, the controller, the self, what I am. I do not know how the story will go tomorrow.

Thinking happens. A lot of thinking happens. And most of it is about the story of Trevor on either a micro or macro level. But I don't know if there's a thinker. Thoughts seems to happen here, I can't find a location, thoughts are invisible, they don't appear outside in the world, they seem to appear here inside my head which sounds silly but that's how it feels to me. Other than the location and the fact that my thoughts are only known by me I can't find a thinker. I can't find the one that does the thinking. I can find the one that receives or is exclusively party to my thinking. That is this space here where my head is. That is where my thoughts happen. That is where the story arrives. But i can't find a creator just someone who hears it.

Thoughts come and are then acted upon or not acted upon. But I can't find a thing, a me that does the acting, it feels more like I am the acting, I am not playing a role, I am that role as long as that role lasts but there is no one or no entity separate from the acting that is doing it.

I can't see any control that 'I' has. I CAN see control, planning, desiring, wanting, fearing, etc. I can see attempts to control fear, desire etc but there is no separate entity 'I' that is doing this. There is fear about what is going to happen, there are attempts to control what is going on, and these things cause feelings. There is 'I want this', 'I won't do that', 'I should be more like this" "I did that really well" going on but this 'I' doesn't refer to anything other than these desires or attempts to control. These 'I's are just thoughts. The big I of awareness behind them has no control it just silently observes but this is not the I that wants anything. This is just being alive and aware.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Ilona » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:59 pm

what is here now when there are no thoughts about it?
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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:46 pm

Nothing. Emptiness. A space where sights. sounds and sensations happen.

There was also the train of thought 'oh look something DID do something just then - when Ilona asked you 'what's here when there are no thoughts' because you stopped thinking to look. So something asked something to look and then that something stopped thinking to look and saw that there was nothing'. So it feels like somethign can stop thoughts. Not for very long. It can't choose which thoughts will come up next. But there is something that can respond to your question what is here now when there are no thoughts about it? by stopping thought for a second and looking to see what's there.

But when there are no thoughts there is just a gentle open awareness in which everything eventually turns up again.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Ilona » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:45 pm

Great, so it is seen that life is going on with or without thoughts.
Gentle awareness, sensations, feeling, sound... All that is.

Focus on the feeling of being (verb) that which is always here, unchanged. Notice that thoughts come up and label that feeling. Can you see that it's there with or without thought/ label?

Is that feeling personal?
Does it change if it's labeled I, me, self?

Focus on breathing. Is there a breather? Is it the I that breathes or is breathing happening? Can you see that 'i breathe' is a label for action. Same as 'I hear', 'I feel', 'I sense' is there an I that is doing any of it?

What comes up?
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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:38 pm

The feeling of being is not personal. It doesn't change whatever label comes up for it. There's no breather. There's no 'I' doing anything.

I see or feel a tension somewhere that seems to want to do things, to control, to decide, to get on to the next thing but it's just an energy it doesn't do anything other than generate tension.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:56 am

I've been ill in bed with gastric flu the last couple of days feeling pretty wiped out physically speaking and it has been interesting to observe how impersonal the whole experience is and how when I meet other people there is the possibility to talk about it and feel about in a personal way, like perhaps I'm used to, as in "Oh no I'm away from home in a new place but I'm spending all my free time in bed feeling poorly" but in fact it's not been like that although I sometimes find myself acting out those old behaviours because it feels easier socially. But actually there's just been the uncomfortable physical sensations of having gastric flu and the attendant frustrations but in a very simple impersonal way - there's no me building up a hard luck story about it.

Also earlier this evening I read in your book the conversation with Eric and something momentarily clicked and saw the absence of a separate self and I started to cry. It felt like I saw mourning the loss of Trevor and at the same time experiencing a relief. It was only very brief because I was in a tiny restaurant and didnt want to put anyone off their dinner so I pulled myself together (no pun intended) paid and left. And then walking through the streets a little later I just saw there was just life happening and there was no-one separate here and again I sobbed. So I think maybe something is gradually shifting. Anyway there is a strange kind of gratitude and wonder here at what you are doing for me.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Ilona » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:23 am

I felt your post with my body and tears of gratitude came up to my eyes.

Yes, something is deffinitely shifting. And you are noticing it :) trust the process and let whatever comes up be ok, it's all happening by itself. And I see that you are looking right at it. Now from thinking that something is happening to seeing it is one final step.

Is there a you to cross that gateless gate?
Is there a gate?
Was there ever?


Sending lots of love. Take a day off, rest and let all this sink in. Hope you health recovers quickly :)
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:03 pm

So there have been a couple more sobs and a little laugh at the seeing of no one here.

There was also however a very sticky patch when some romantic feelings came up, some missing and longing but I just really looked hard for the me in it, for the I in I love her and I couldn't find anything it referred to. The only thing I could find was the energy/feeling labeled 'love' or 'missing'. There was no I doing the missing. And on the other end even the absent person that was assumed to be the object of this feeling (a real person in my life) was seen to be a thought in that moment too. There was this feeling labelled 'I love her' but when I looked there was the feeling labelled love but I couldnt find anything behind the I. And the her was also another thought/image.

If there's not a me to love her then there's not a me to cross the gateless gate. And apart from the words/thoughts gateless gate refers to nothing I can see or find.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:13 pm

There was only ever the thought of a gate. A believed in thought of a gate. Who it was that ever believed in this gate I can't answer. It was believed by no one. Now the gate is not believed by no one. It feels like a conceptual game a language puzzle. Played by what? Conscioussness? Intentional energy? I dont think language is adequate to express it. I love her. I refers to nothing. There is love. Is it her that is loved? Or is there just love at that moment and then not love in another moment? I dont know but there's no I/me doing the love.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Ilona » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:47 am

Beautiful, beautiful. I can see that you emerged on the other side of the non existent line in one piece. ;)

Yes, feelings are here and there is no I feeling them. Funny, but true.
I will ask you to answer some questions now that will help both of us to see where you are now.
Take your time and answer in full when ready.

1) Is there a 'me', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever? 

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.

3) How does it feel to see this?

4) How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion. 

5) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? 



Sending love and looking forward to your answers.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:08 am

1) Is there a 'me', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever? 

There is only the thought of me. Or a passing feeling/energy in the body which is labelled by labelled as 'me'. But behind the thought, behind the feeling in solar plexus/throat/tummy/behind the eyes labelled thought there is nothing that is me. There is nothing that is a pilot, chooser, thinker, doer, controller of my body, action, thoughts, beliefs or life. Everything that I do just happens. It is a trick of language or a conceptual habit that creates the idea of me. It is a useful shorthand but one that refers to no autonomous entity.

Me refers to whatever it refers to in the moment. I am my body and my thoughts,feelings,memories,experiences. But I can't be found anywhere specifically within them - like the university analogy I think I came across somewhere on your forum. Me I self are not names that refer to a consistent essential core that does anything. There is no essential core me running my body, thoughts, feelings experiences.

There never was a me either. I used to think there was a me, an I, an ego and that what needed to happen was to transcend, lose, let fall away this me. I see now that there was never a me or rather that there was always as much me as there is now however this me refers to nothing but a thought labelling an ever changing array of experiences in the mind or body none of which has any independent existence or power.

There was a belief that this me had power, it is now seen that thoughts have no power. They label, describe, narrate.

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works.

The illusion is that there is a self that is separate from it's life. That there is some core identity in a human being that is living it's life in the body and mind and that can control the experience it is having by making choices.

I've heard it starts very young, around 2 or 3. Recently I remembered one of my earliest memories which was of running across the street in front of a van. I must have nearly got run over. I would have been about 2 years old. I remembered it recently because I remember being really told off by my mother for running across the street and her explaining how I mustn't do things like this on my own. I can still remember being really puzzled by how she spoke to me about something I had done that I should not have done. This may have been one of the first moments I learnt about me, of the idea that that there is a separate autonomous me that can control my life. I find thoughts are imitative in that I copy what I am exposed to, the books I read, the people I hang out with etc. So the me thought, the belief in a separate self is imitated I expect. We imitate the older members of our families. Parents seem to treat babies and young children as if they are separate little selves and I suppose we just live up to how we're treated. Another memory I have from when I was about 8, I remember asking my parents where I came from. My uncle laughed because he thought is was a birds and the bees question. But from my perspective it wasn't. It was where did I/me who is Trevor come from. I was brought up Christian and I knew by that age I was going to die and go to heaven or hell so where did I come from? And I remember my parents became slightly short with me and told me to shut up. Possibly because they were embarrassed about potentially having to talk about the birds and the bees but possibly because I was asking a very difficult question!

So I guess after a certain age there is a recurring thought that comes up with in conjunction with a range of recurring feelings and emotions in the body that is labelled me/myself/I. When we behave in an acceptable way those around us praise us, and vice versa. People treat us as separate individuals with freewill and so we live up to this. After a while we simply believe that the I me myself thoughts and feeling patterns refer to something autonomous and separate within us that is who we really are and that this something can control our experience. Despite that fact that we'll continue to have abundant evidence every day for the whole of our lives that we are not in control of our experience. I, me, myself, self are linguistically useful, they are helpful terms for communication but they are misunderstood because we copy the way our parents use them in referring to an entity within us that is nothing more than a thought, albeit a recurring thought.


3) How does it feel to see this?

A relief.

There's been a very subtle, very gentle lightness to my experience over the last 4 or 5 days. At first I thought that because I'd been doing this inquiry in a strange town that maybe it wasn't the inquiry but simply being in an unfamiliar place. But now I am back where I normally live and the lightness of experience is persisting. I dreamt intensely about this whole thing last night. It fascinates me. I opened an unpleasant red letter from the Tax man when i got home last night and it pushed my buttons just like normal but this passed within a few minutes whereas before it would almost certainly have pushed me into a some kind of personal crisis.

It feels like it's way too early to be saying how it feels to see this but so far it feels very agreeable. There is a quiet confidence and sense of well being that everything is happening as it should. I seem to be more patient with myself and with others. There's a sense of acceptance and assurance.

And also sometimes the thought "Is this all of it then? Maybe this isn't it because this isn't very different to how it was when I thought there was a me."

Although I don't like to admit it I've probably been a bit of 'a seeker' for a while and therefore have various imaginations about what this seeing through of the self should be like.

4) How would you describe it to somebody who has never heard about this illusion. I'm not sure I would want to describe it to someone who'd never heard about this illusion unless I thought they were really suffering.

BUT I could try to describe it by saying that Life isn't personal. Your life isn't personal. Life is kind of flat where you thought it was 3D. You and your experience are one. Not two. There's no you living a life. There is life as you experience it and that is you. It happens with and without the thoughts of me myself and I. Life is intimate but not personal. You have no need to protect and defend yourself not because everything's gonna be alright and the universe is friendly (although that may also be the case, I don't know) but because there is no you who can do anything. Your self doesn't exist except as a thought that refers to nothing. Your whole life is constantly being given to you.

5) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look? 
I guess it was the love thing. Romantic love is such a personal thing and such a powerful intense feeling. It is overwhelming but I looked for the me who was being overwhelmed and I couldn't find it. I could find the overwhelming feelings, the over whelming thoughts, I couldn't get away from them. I am in love, I am in love, but I couldn't find the I. Only the love. I couldn't find the self, the me, the I that these in love thoughts were supposed to be happening to. 'I am in love' describes the experience very well. But the I doesn't refer to anything outside the feelings and thoughts.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Ilona » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:35 am

Wow, love set you free!
Beautifully expressed and congratulations, you have graduated :))

Last question:
Is the self like a bad habit?


Sending love..
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Trevor
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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Trevor » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:41 am

It did feel like a bad habit. The more 'self' feelings I had the more suffering there was. The less 'self' feelings I had the better I felt. But when I actually looked for the self, I couldn't find it. I saw that the self was a concept that referred to nothing. So the habit analogy broke down because it was seen that there was nothing to give up. And also nothing to do the giving up.

It's almost like there'd been a laziness up until this point. The brilliance of what you have done for me Ilona is to encourage me to ruthlessly look for this self that I thought was a bad habit. And when one really looks with effort and intention it is seen that there is nothing that concepts like self and me refer to. It was the simple act of looking that did it for me. It's so awesomely simple and precise. I'd never really looked for the self before. So I'd say the self is less like a bad habit and more like a bad assumption. And when thoughts and feelings of me, myself and I were throughly investigated and searched for, then the illusion was clearly and simply seen through. It was unavoidable. It just happened.



I have woken up this morning feeling lighter. Part of me is still a little uncertain about what is happening and wonders if it's all a ridiculous dream. And I guess it is too.

I'm quietly happy Ilona. Life feels ever so slightly different but also completely, naturally the same as it ever was. I dont know what to say to you. Apart from thank you. Thank you very much. I am so so very grateful.

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Re: Is The Self Like A Bad Habit?

Postby Ilona » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:43 pm

Thank you. Now I have this huge smile on my face. :)
Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have some stuff coming up and need a little help.
It was an honour to help you through.
*bows*

Much love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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