Seeing through me

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HakanJson
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Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:35 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
Well, my understanding - which is partly conceptual, partly from experience - is that the sense of I, as a person having control of my life and having a free will, is just an unconscious thought construction. Outside of thinking (using word, concepts and mental images) there is no self, no me. In the present moment there is no life story.

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking for assistance in this 'spiritual' process - a process that somehow started and since then seems to naturally take me wherever it takes me.
My expectations have changed a lot during this process. At first - when doing walking meditation in the forest for the first time - I was amazed by the meditation experience. It felt like the world slowed down and I had a sense of coming home and of peace. I got the meditation advice from a therapist which I contacted during a life crisis. I continued doing walking meditations for a few years and my experience deepened.
I never had any real expectations at the time, it was just amazing being in the state I was during the meditations. It was like i had discovered a new dimension of life.
One and a half years ago I went to India together with my family (wife and two kids, now aged 2 and 8) for yoga teacher training. Both my wife and I did a teacher training, we took turns taking care of the kids. We stayed in Rishikesh in northern India where I met a monk who gave me guided meditations - we often started of having a spiritual discussion. I had heard of enlightenment and liberation prior to this journey - I listened a lot to people like Alan Watts and Sadhguru on youtube, but I hadnt really understood much of it. The monk inspired me a lot and I learned to appreciate sitting meditation.
When I came back to Sweden, where I live, I felt like my perception of the world had changed. The experience that I up until then only had in meditations now often became a part of every day life. One evening, driving on my way back from a rehearsal with a music band I was playing with ( I play the piano) I got a glimpse of something interesting. It felt like some kind of clarity, like I was on to something, something big, something very interesting - I remember thinking 'what the hell is that?'. It was a sense of something in my experience which I hadn't noticed earlier - a moment of clarity. I had more and more moments of clarity in the coming months, it only appeared when I was in the present moment, not hypnotized by thinking.
Last winter I read Sam Harris book 'Waking up' where I learnt, among other things, about Douglas Harding and the headless way. I started doing the first experiments on the headless way site and I was amazed by the sense it gave me. Pointing with my finger to my own face and eyes often made me feel that I actually had no head, that there was more like a vast, open space where my head used to be. I did this experiment when I was out in nature, walking in a big open space, one day and suddenly I came into this sense of having no head. This time the sense didn't leave for three days.
I came home to my family with a fantastic sense of having no head, somehow I was my own surrounding and feeling a vast open empty space in my head. There was still a sense of I, but the I included more or less the world surrounding me. It felt good and I didnt want it to ever leave. But it did and it hasnt come back in the same way and not for that long.
This summer I was on a yoga retreat during the holidays. One day, when looking in the mirror, I had the sense that I was the reflection in the mirror - on my side of the mirror there wasn't a me, it was more or less just empty space. This sense of being empty space has since then been present a lot of the time. I often have this feeling that what is me is rather the world in front of me - the old me is somehow shrinking, stepping back. And the world in front of me is 'stepping forward', I'm more of a reflection of the world. But - I feel that I never really have seen through the feeling of I - there is always some part of me present.
It would be a lie to say that I have no expectations. My greatest expectation is that I will be a better man. A man that doesn't ever react to his wife or children or other people. A man that can see things for what they really are, a man that doesn't get caught up/hypnotized in/by the drama of life.
But lately my expectations have been lowered. I have this sense of having no control over what is happening. If there is only life and no me, how can 'I' become a better man? How can 'I' do anything to see through myself? How can 'I' control my reactions when there is no I? I feel like I'm in the hands of the whole life process. Or god. I begin to understand what Alan Watts have said about zen students coming to realize that there is absolutely nothing they can do. They come to the point where they give up trying. And at that point - they see through the sense of I. But I havent yet given up in that way. I haven't come to this crucial point. And I think I may be too afraid. Or maybe I'm not as close as I would like to think.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Assistance with seeing through myself. A change in perception. I wrote above about some of my expectations - becoming a better man, becoming non-reactive to other people. But, as I also mentioned, my expectations have been lowered lately. I feel that I don't expect as much now -have can I develop myself when there is no damn I? Yes, there is some frustration here.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Meditation, for the last 5 years. At first only walking, but since one and a half year also sitting. I've mostly tried breath awareness. Lately I've come to realize that if there is no I, have can I watch my breath? How can I execute any control in meditation or in any situation?
Seeking, yes, it started five years ago, been seeking since. Reading, watching videos, pondering, discussing.
Inquiry, yes reflecting over the sense of I when meditating. Reflecting over the sense of I in every day life.
Inspired by Alan Watts, Douglas Harding, Nisargadatta, Ramana, Sadhguru, Adyashanti, Pete Ashley on quora, Sam Harris, you (liberation unleashed).
Someone on Quora wrote that Alan Watts was a bodhisattva - it was such a beautiful way of putting it. Almost everything he says seems to agree with me.
Lately I've been very inspired by Pete Ashley and he is the reason why I'm here, since he mentioned you in one of his answers.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:24 pm

Good morning, HakanJson,

Welcome.

My name is Stacy and I can be your guide, if you would like. If so, please begin with the instructions below.

Is your name "Hakan?" Or what would you like for me to call you?

If you haven't already read the Disclaimer, please read it now and just confirm to me that you have read it. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Also please read “Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

Some housekeeping guidelines:

1. Post at least once a day, or every second day. If you need more time, or are unable to post for several days, just write a quick post on your thread to let me know please.

2. There is no one judging answers given, so please be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.

3. This exploration is based on Actual (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, color and observed thoughts - only. Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process. There is no ‘self’ to improve.

4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, rituals, practices, books/reading and so on for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily meditation practice, it is fine to continue that but is not necessary for this exploration.

Technology is not perfect and sometimes there is a glitch which can wipe out your responses. It is advisable that you copy and paste questions asked into Word, answer them there and then copy and paste them to your thread. Always save a copy of what you have done, it will save time in the long run!

To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration. In your own words (not from actual experience, but just honest answers), could you please answer the 4 following questions:

How will life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?

Throughout this exploration I would like you to answer all questions that I have written in blue text. Please answer questions individually, remembering to use the quote function to highlight the question being answered.
''

Warmly,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:10 pm

Hi Stacy!

You can call me Hakan and I have a read the disclaimer and the text about what liberation unleashed is not and I accept you as my guide.
I will answer your questions.
How will life change?
I hope that I will no longer feel the need to defend myself against other people and that I will react less against my wife, children and other people.
I hope that I will accept life more as it is - knowing that I am not separated from life.
How will I change?
Same answer as above. I feel like I am gradually going towards this no-self already. It feels like I, myself is dissolving, I can see that there is no need for a me in the present moment. I feel openness and I’m almost never bored with the present moment, on the contrary I am curious, in a new way, about my current experience.
What will be different?
I don’t think life will change at all, but the experience of life may change. This openness that I already feel may increase and the peace that I already feel may increase and the sense of not being separate may increase.
What is missing?
All my life I have felt that there is something ‘in the way’. I haven’t felt open to life and I haven’t felt that it really concerns me. This has gradually changed since I started this spiritual journey. Earlier I have been very concerned with how other people view me and I have been putting on a mask trying to be normal. I think that I, myself is exactly that which has been ‘in the way’. I want the truth, as far as it can be understood or experienced.

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:15 pm

I realize that I was a little inconsistent in my first reply. Answering the question
How will live change?
I answered that I thought life would not change at all, but earlier I said that I had some expectations after all. So, yes, I have some expectations that life will change and that I will not feel the need to defend myself and that I will not feel the need to react to other people. And that I may accept life more as it is.

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:44 pm

Good morning, Hakan,

Well, at least it is in Colorado.

That's good. The clarification is good, too.

It's normal to have some expectations and yet you seem to be realistic that much will not change. All of that is completely unpredictable. Some people even get depressed and feel worse as things that they had not noticed come to their awareness. But again it's unpredictable and that's why we have Aftercare groups to support people should such things occur. We just want to know what your expectations are when we start, because they do get in the way some.

What comes up when is read that there is no self, never has been never will be? That "self" just a made-up story, a fiction, and does not exist at all?

Looking forward to your replies.

Warmly,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:49 pm

PS - I love Sam Harris & Alan Watts. I know some of the others, as well, but those two are favorites. However, even their methods are a bit different than what we do here.

Enjoy!
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:29 pm

There are a lot of things coming up when I think about this.
If I am not me, what is left? I can see, intellectually, that thoughts and feelings just ‘pop up’, i’m not choosing them. And that the things that I do and say are based on those thoughts. This, as I see it, doesn’t leave much room for free will. But in my everyday experience I mostly feel that I do have a free will, that I make choices and act accordingly. I’m not sure if this is relevant after seeing the truth about the self, but it comes to mind now. If I have no free will, am I just a puppet, a robot?
Also, I often feel the need to take breaks from being social. I get tired and overwhelmed from being in social situations for ‘too long’. I have often felt that I need to ‘protect’ myself from an overwhelming outer world. But, if there is no me, how will this be affected? I think I am a little afraid of being constantly overwhelmed if there is no me to ‘protect’ me. Still, I understand that life continues much as it did before, so perhaps this is just a fear.
When I am alone, sitting and meditating or just sitting, I often feel that the sense of me is not really there so much anymore. And it is a nice feeling and I’m very much in the present moment.
Sometimes I can still have this sense when I am with other people. When I do I feel very intimate with those around me. This only happens with people I know very well. Sometimes I have felt this way and suddenly I’ve gotten very scared and felt the need to protect myself. It is as if I hope that other people will feel the same intimacy, but they often don’t. So I may feel very intimate with them, but they perhaps feel that I am too ‘close for comfort’.

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:00 am

Feels good to know that we are inspired by the same people. Colorado - I know the ice hockey team!;)

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:45 pm

Good morning, Hakan!

Yes, that's a lot. But that's exactly why we ask that question. You want to notice what fears may come up, because they will get in your way. Someone once describe to me what it was like to be in zero gravity. He was a scientist and he got to do this to test something. He said the first time he did it, he was holding his body very tense and it made it hard to get around and it was very fatiguing. The second time he did it he relaxed and the air held him up and it was much less fatiguing.

That is like my experience of no self. I thought I had to do things to protect myself and it was very fatiguing. However, knowing there's no self, I relax and life holds me up.

Also, is perfectly normal for some people to be worn out by being too social for too long. That's an introvert. I'm not an introvert, very extroverted in fact, but I work with 80 introverts and they're all like this to one degree or another.

So let me know when you're feeling fear and if it makes any of your exercises difficult and I will help you with it.


So here is an exercise or example about how we want you to answer the questions in each exercise from now on.

Colored Socks

There is a big difference between knowing that there is nothing to give up and seeing that there is nothing to give up.

Here is an example to illustrate the difference:

If I ask you what color socks you are wearing right now you have two ways to come up with an answer:

• You can have a think about it, you can think back to this morning and try to remember putting your socks on, and you can probably tell me what color you think they are.

• Alternatively, you can take a quick look at your socks and tell me what color they actually are!

Hopefully, you would agree that you can only be 100% certain by looking.

For the purpose of our dialogue together, it is going to be very important that you are clear about this difference.

Knowing is about knowledge which is all in the mind and we are not interested in that. We are only interested in looking at and seeing what is actually going on in your present moment to moment experience. We are only interested in your direct experience in the moment.

Please let me know if you are clear about this or if you would like any further clarification.

Warmly,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:26 pm

I am clear about the difference between analyzing/remembering/fantasizing and experiencing. When I notice that I have drifted away in thoughts I often ask myself ‘what has that (the thoughts) got to do with this?’ (looking at what I have right in front of me). This question very often give me a peculiar feeling that the present moment is such a strange mystery and that it does not have much or anything to do with my life story and the thoughts I think.

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:22 pm

Hi,

Excellent!
This question very often give me a peculiar feeling that the present moment is such a strange mystery and that it does not have much or anything to do with my life story and the thoughts I think.
Seems true to me.

So here's your next exercise.

Direct Experience - Labelling Daily Activities

Here's an exercise that I would like you to try as many times throughout the day as you can. Label daily activities simply color/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/color
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all Actual/Direct Experience) and report back how it goes.

Report with at least two or three lists just like the one above.


Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:05 am

Seeing the kitchen floor, simply: image
Hearing the kitchen fan, simply: sound
Smelling the spaghetti sauce, simply: smell
Tasting the spaghetti sauce, simply: taste
Feeling the floor with my feet, simply: sensation
Thinking about enlightenment, simply: thought

Seeing a chair, simply image
Listening to the wind, simply sound
Feeling the shirt on my skin, simply sensation
Tasting sandwich, simply taste
Thinking about work, simply thought

Seeing a tree, simply image
Hearing my sons voice, simply sound
Feeling the ground beneath me when walking, simply sensation
Lost in some fantasy about me talking to someone, simply thought

Seeing darkness, simply image
Feeling my back which lies on the bed, simply sensation
Hearing my wife’s breath, simply sound
Tasting the toothpaste in my mouth, simply taste
Thinking about a winter holiday, simply thought

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby Anastacia42 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:36 am

Good morning,

Yes. Exactly like that.

How did it feel to notice image and color, sound, sensation, tasting, smelling, and thought arising without all the content and labels?

Warmly,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:39 pm

It feels good. It feels good and simple. I’ve been doing this a lot for quite some time already and
it often feels like direct experience somehow precedes and almost includes the sense of myself. I’ve usually been ‘staying with’ one sense at a time.

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HakanJson
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Re: Seeing through me

Postby HakanJson » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:41 pm

Good evening, by the way.;) Well, here it’s evening.


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