1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No. There still seems to be a consistency of experience, but upon examination, there is no entity ever to be found. Just thoughts.
Was there ever? As far as "I" can see, there is only now the present and the memories that appear in the present. So yes, there are many stories that come up about an entity through various life experiences. But these memories are also just thoughts with no core entity, upon examination.
2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
It arises from thoughts of relationship. "I" communicating with "another", "I" wanting love from "another", "I" wanting to be separate from or to hide from "another". These are each all complete thoughts that include "I" and the "other" and all aspects of the relationship between the two. The thoughts are complete and all in-one, but each thought is separate from another and there is no consistent entity between them.
3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
It feels very uneventful, to be honest. I feel that I must have missed something due to the simplicity... but even that is just a passing thought upon examination.
Doubts arise, as any other thought. But the doubting entity is no more real than any other
Perhaps doubts and other thoughts will never stop coming, but they have no real substance and cannot stay upon examination.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
I think a good bit of it shifted in your very first question of me:
Could you try to make a sort of description of what this entity is? Look at this experience you have you think of as an entity, as if it's the first time you ever experienced it. What is it made of, and does seem like it can do things and perceive things? it doesnt need to be true what you come up with, don't worry about that, just try to get a sense of what this entity experience is like. tell me what your findings
Having to actually respond to that question from direct experience caused a shift. I had spent years reading, listening, watching many teachers and perhaps they made me 'ripe' for realization, but actually having to respond was the difference.
After that there was some 'cleaning up' in examining thoughts such as 'youre going to lose this realization' or 'you dont REALLY get it yet' and finding nothing at the core of them.
(It's interesting reading this back that I used 'you' to describe these self-critical thoughts. It's as if there was already some separation and that these thoughts were presenting from someone else's perspective... not consistent with one solid entity who is thinking)
I think what you said here was when I felt I was ready for the questions
Some thing I feel might be useful to point out is that it is not necessary to rid oneself of identification, or to think things true, or to belief certain things, in order for the belief, or persistence in thinking, of being a separate self to go or seen through. Is it obvious that there is no self to be found? That doesn't mean there isn't more delusion left which can be looked into, belief in being a separate self is just a part of the mess:).
Yes, it's obvious that there's no self to ever be found. Yet it still feels like there is a lot of delusion here as well as expectations of some 'enlightened' end state
5) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.
Decisions, actions, etc... happen automatically. There is no clear decision point to be found, thoughts and actions arise with no apparent source. A decision is understood in another thought, a moment after the decision thought was made. It is understood by the thought "I chose that one"
There are 'entity' thoughts after the fact such as 'I made that decision' or 'I should not have eaten that' or 'I need to regain control of my life'. These delusional thoughts seem to contain suffering.
But like all thoughts, the 'entity' in the frequent thoughts 'I should not have eaten that' or 'I'm fat because I eat too much' is only 'alive' in that single thought. The entity was not there at the time the action of eating was performed. No consistent entity was. There may have been a thought in between the 'decision' point and the eating... 'Ok, I'm going to eat it'. But it was only as a reaction to the spontaneously made decision with no entity at the core.
....What am I responsible for? In so far as there is 'anyone here', my main responsibility is to investigate the delusional thoughts which create suffering, as it seems that the suffering from this being may spread to others (family, community) and create patterns of delusional suffering thoughts in their life.
Life goes along just fine without an entity, it always has. In fact, it seems that the more an imagined entity is present, the more dysfunctional and problematic life appears to be.
6) Anything to add?
Everything I've just written (including this line) from 'my' perspective is delusion. Everything is happening by itself and to no one. The person who has joined this forum with the username 'Gobs' still experiences delusion, and doubt and suffering... but everything written above is from direct experience.
Thank you to you, my guide, as well as the founders of this community for helping to bring me home.