Karenness , your thread is here.

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karenness
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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby karenness » Fri May 04, 2012 7:29 pm

Hi Elizabeth,

I’ve been spending 30-60 minutes upon waking in the morning doing inquiry. It simply seems to arise. The question what is hearing the sounds of the birds? What sees the trees out the window? Then there is this looking for THE self. I find so many changing identities coming and going – bed-maker, one putting clothes on, hair-brusher; one walking to the bathroom … it’s all changing so it can’t be what I am. Anything I can tell you about myself requires that I go to words, pictures, memory to describe, explain, impress, unimpress so that’s not real either.

I feel this questioning loosening the grip of mind and am still aware of some places where there are deeper grooves. Especially when my process is being challenged and then “I” feel the need to defend that there is no “I”. Now that seems pretty silly.

Still cannot find a decider as I look at things that have happened in my life such as taking a job, relocating, even writing an email at the time I do. Tracing it back to an event in time is not possible as there are just too many overlapping happenings.


This leads me to simply be with your last question.

This is where you look beyond meaning. Behind the illusion of self, constructed in thoughts, is what? What just IS, Karen?

What just IS is Love, stillness, the NOW-ness of life. I cannot find a real self, me, Karen, confused self, incompetent self. It’s open accepting before all the words, meaning, ideas that overlay on what’s here.

I have visited this place many times in the past and then seem to fall out, although I know it’s not possible to un-become what I really am. Even the movements of frustration, rejection, acceptance are all welcome so there is no problem with any of that and I don’t want that to be just a nice idea so there is a process of looking for myself.

The day is just getting started here. I look forward to hearing from you. Love, Karen

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby Elizabeth » Sat May 05, 2012 2:04 pm

Hello Karen,
The day is getting started here, now :-)
You seem able to go deep, and I also suspect you have been here before, many of us have the 'had it and lost it' syndrome.
In my case, and perhaps yours. I lost it largely because there was no context to the awakening, and perhaps no overt awareness of the mechanism that builds a self-construct. And rebuilds one, again and again.
I hope these questions allow you to nail that mechanism.

1) Is there a you, at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form?

2) Explain in detail what the self is and how it works. How did it start, how does it continue?

3) Please describe it to someone who has no spiritual language and wants to know why they are miserable.

3) How does it feel to be liberated?

Love, Elizabeth

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby karenness » Sun May 06, 2012 8:36 am

Hello Elizabeth,

I am taking my time with each question to look more closely. The others will follow.

Is there a you, at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form?

I began with this question during my morning practice of journaling and being still. I looked at the moment this form was born. Images came to mind with mother. Seeing pictures of myself as a baby. Reading notes by my mother about all the “firsts”. Looking at the birth certificate. All those things appear to point to a “Karen” that exists separately and operates with its own will and yet I don’t find it.

I also saw that if there is a me, she is suffering from multiple personality disorder because all I can find are constantly changing roles and expressions that the "I" claims to be. How real can this ever-changing self be? Is this coming and going being the all-important me that has accumulated achievements and suffered to earn the praise of others? This seems quite silly now to be seeing from the unchanging awareness that expresses as all the various roles and costumes and knows it is not them.

Today at my art class there was this ease of painting without the painter-doer trying to paint and do it “right” and get the teacher’s approval. Such freedom, fun, and a lovely painting that was created.

There is an awareness of rising forms, actions, experience but not a “me” operating my life and creating some future. When resting in THIS, there is not a real me as anything that could be said, written, imagined about this Karen character would only be concepts and ideas about the me and not anything that is real.

I will explore the next question and hang with this one some more too. I notice doubts arising about no "me" because I still see some places where it can reassemble and be deceiving.
Enjoying this investigation here and the shift in awareness as I am being lived.

One love, Karen

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby Elizabeth » Sun May 06, 2012 12:42 pm

Good morning, Karen.
Yes, it's startling how we keep trying to create, then believe in, a consistent identity. Minds and bodies are subject to constant change as they develop, age, respond to environment. And yet, that which can have no identity, is always looking from those eyes. Kind of solves the original face problem :-)
I raise a coffee cup to you and wait for your next looking.
Love, Elizabeth

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby karenness » Mon May 07, 2012 7:43 am

Hi Elizabeth,

This one started hurting me head trying to explain how this whole self thing plays out. Here's what came tumbling out.

Explain in detail what the self is and how it works. How did it start, how does it continue?

The self is an idea, an entity created in the mind from thoughts and pictures and a whole collection of data about the self that makes it seem like it is in a separate person. It is fed a steady diet of beliefs, conditioning, and memories to keep itself alive and important. The self attaches ideas, roles, opinions, and labels to itself and then believes that it really IS all these characteristics, qualities, assessments and reflects that persona by moving in the world as an individual that meets the criteria and bio of who it believes it is.

The self keeps on “self-ing” by operating under a mechanism whereby it identifies with things, ideas, words based on past associations and habit. It then operates in the world as this very sticky, sensitive, protective “self-form” coming into contact with life as other people, work, traffic, and everyday life activities. When it is seen as good and gets favorable responses then it is happy and pleased with itself and gets addicted to this flow of energy and continues to seek it outside itself. On the other hand, when the self meets up with criticism, rejection, and negativity it triggers the places that the self takes itself to be insufficient and then the suffering sets in because a mirror is held up to the places where the self is caught in attachment and really thinks it can be abandoned, harmed or

The self started out the moment the body was given a name, a birth certificate, and girl or boy clothes. The story of a me is reinforced by all the people who repeatedly call this baby by a name and let this being know who they are, what they will become, and what is “wrong” with them. The self is alive and well and conditioned to see itself as lacking and in need of returning to wholeness. So the journey begins to be successful, loved, approved. Ideas and opinions are layered on as a good or bad self-image is created and the self then has plenty of work to do to fix, change or defend itself. Struggle and inner conflict arise as the self feels threatened and fights to assert itself and who it is, what it thinks and how important it is. The me vs. you mindset operates and self, believing itself to be separate, will fight to save itself.

The self continues because all the assumptions and beliefs that it was built upon are never questioned and are then left in place to keep feeding this self identity. Beliefs, pictures, documents with name and identifying numbers are all taken to be real and proof that the self actually exists as an autonomous little unit generating its own thoughts, making decisions, controlling what it does and when and how others should be. This naturally sets up blame and guilt when life doesn’t go as planned and the cycle of low self-esteem and self-image. Then the self needs to be uplifted and made to feel good again and it keeps going in this rather dysfunctional way until the mind actually interrupts the process by stopping for even a moment to question what it has been taught to believe about its existence.

Enjoy!
Love, Karen

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby Elizabeth » Mon May 07, 2012 1:16 pm

LOL! I did enjoy it. Nice to see a warrior spirit with an cutting blade go after an illusion. Clarity!
What an amazing illusion. It's power seems to lie in unquestioned belief. And you have the experience and ability to allow and question every thought. Not just the bad ones, sadly, but the good ones. Any thought that requires belief.
Even if we never talk again, Karen, this is how freedom from the illusion comes, because the illusion will try to rebuild. As awareness rests on a thought or a mental structure, and you LOOK at it in context of reality, it changes.
Love, Elizabeth

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby karenness » Mon May 07, 2012 7:58 pm

Thank you, Elizabeth. That's so good to know that I have the power of inquiry at my disposable and that by resting in awareness and seeing from there, things shift on their own. The struggle is over.

I jumped on here with a quick reply as I am still going to answer the remaining questions. I think it will be very helpful to articulate how I would explain the "self-ing" machine to someone without this context.

So funny that you would mention the warrior with a cutting blade. Yesterday I spent an hour weed-whacking in the yard and as I was slicing through the weeds I imagined all the notions of self were being cut down and any power or life they had was destroyed. The story and conditioning had met its demise. And then later in the day I had a ritual fire to burn up some of the paper "proof" of the self's existence. It was a really fun day!

Love,
Karen

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby Elizabeth » Wed May 09, 2012 3:19 am

Explaining some of this to people in a way that meets them where they can understand a few concepts, without closing them down, is ongoing here. It dovetails well with several spiritual or religious traditions.
But it's a subtractive process, not an egoic/additive one, so it lacks a certain appeal. Good luck with it, and I shall steal any good bits :-)
Have a great day, Karen.

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby karenness » Wed May 09, 2012 6:24 am

Hi Elizabeth,

This was the most difficult question yet and I'm still not sure what I even said. :-)
Here it goes:

So you are miserable and want to know why. Let’s take a closer look the self that seems to be at the center of so many of our problems.

Soon after birth you were given a name and a bunch of data to help identify you – length, weight, eye color, date and time of birth, parents’ names and maybe even sibling names. You were now a little person that had a whole bunch of words and pictures associated with you.

Over time as you grew up, made friends, participated in activities, attended school and landed a job many adjectives and qualities were stuck to you in the same way you might put a sticky-note on a white board. Only these were invisible sticky labels because they lived inside and were fed by belief, attention, and meaning given to them. It seems to be something that humans do.

It’s quite natural to know yourself as your name, your title, roles, and positive or negative qualities that have come to define you. We are told we are good, bad, kind, lazy, talented, and worthless. We also learn to connect our value to the job we have and how much money we earn. Our self-image gets a boost when we get a promotion and think that we’ve made it now. These are all words and ideas about who we think we are and the list gets quite long.

The mind gets caught in all the stories it is fed and actually begins to dictate how you behave, who you spend time with and how you engage with life. And since, for most of us, the self we take ourselves to be is fearful, restless, anxious, and defensive there will be the need to protect itself from the threat of what others say, do, and feel. Everything in life seems to be about you and that makes it difficult to simply be.

All this self-interpretation quickly boils down to there being something “wrong” with you. You believe you suffer from a character defect and then there is a movement to create a better, nicer, more lovable self who will attract good things, be important, right and beautiful. For example, someone talks about you in a disparaging way and hurt and anger show up. Or maybe praise and adoration falls upon you and you are now believe you are special and wonderful. Either way you are buying into a story about a self and you’re going to cling to it one day and resist it the next. You have become trapped on a roller coaster that you can never get off. Life will take you up and down and the mind will keep layering on all this data as proof of your identity. And as long as there is a “you” with all these labels and features then there is also the “other” with its own labels who can threaten and harm you. Living in a world of separation perpetuates conflict, violence, and the painful story of loneliness.

Humans suffer so much because there is such an investment in the self-image or persona that has been built up over the years. And why wouldn’t you try and protect yourself if you really thought you were in danger. The problem is that all these concepts we have about ourselves are simply adopted, taken to be true and never investigated. What if you just stopped for a moment to question some of these ideas you have about yourself? Can you really find a bad person? If you are always growing, working at different jobs, changing residences, beginning and ending relationships, playing in a constant flow, then can you really say what you are? Can you be pinned down and defined by any one moment or experience?

We are so afraid to lose our story because it has become so familiar and dear to us. Who would we be without it? It’s worth taking the time to find out because what you keep looking for so you can finally relax is what you already are. No accomplishment, external fame, material stuff or appreciation will ever fulfill you.


I see that this is something that will develop over time and as my own adventure continues.
Love,
Karen

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby Elizabeth » Wed May 09, 2012 11:57 am

Lovely, Karen.
What 'cracked' it ? Made the hole(s) the light comes through?
And seeing this, what is it like to be awake to the illusion, what is life like now, today?
Love, Elizabeth

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby karenness » Thu May 10, 2012 12:50 am

Dear Elizabeth,

How did you know?
This morning I was awake for almost 3 hours as the inquiry continued to ”do” me, deepening into this “I” investigation. Then the getting out of bed, putting on the yoga clothes, lighting candle at the altar …. Like I have done so many times before. Today felt different as my hands and feet seemed to appear as miracles while in the postures and there was a fresh seeing of what was around the room and out the window. Tears flowing. So sweet. Mind is much quieter today as simple doing happens. The sounds of the birds are so delightful. Being awake to the illusion is quite peaceful and still. A remembering of what has always been. Not adding meaning to this either to create another story. Just an openness to what appears. I’ll be driving a bit later and so we’ll see where this “me” gets caught. ☺

What “cracked” it? Made the hole(s) the light comes through?

Don’t really know …
I would say the intention, sitting with the questions as the most important thing for two weeks. Letting most everything else fall away – not listening to other teachings and diving into my own practice that was already solidly in place. Something about the very clear pointing and questioning that tipped the scales perhaps. The mind just got trapped in a sense and truth was staring it in the face. hahaha

How does it feel to be liberated?

More open, less sticky. There is a trust and ease with life and that all is very well even in the midst of the storm. And one just blew through prior to my typing this and I’m not buying into that person’s story. There is more compassion for their upset and feeling no need to defend.

I think these words from Kirtana sum it up. Are you familiar with her beautiful, illusion-piercing music?

“What a blessed life.
What a lucky find
The ending of the search
The stopping of my mind
How can I express
The changes taking place
The only words I guess
Would be amazing grace”

First chorus from the song “Blessed Life” by Kirtana

Much love and gratitude,
Karen

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Re: Karenness , your thread is here.

Postby Elizabeth » Thu May 10, 2012 1:47 pm

Hi Karen,
Isn't this a lovely place? Slight shift in perspective and it's different. The world, and through the world, at the same moment, always there when you look. I hope it stays with you for a while.
Many of us experience this for a few days, or weeks. The energies can be startling, but if you are used to experiencing flow and opening through a meditation, there should be no panic. Flow and change and impermanence...some are very steady and calm and have no such energetic disturbance about any of it. Who knows? :-)
For almost all, thoughts eventually come back, with the sticky on them, and that is to be expected. This simply means that more looking is indicated. Sitting with them as an open question, welcoming them, not trying to manipulate them, all good techniques. Some people do more inquiry in the form of Byron Katie's Work (which she formulated after her realization). Others have a practice and an lineage to return to, if they feel to do it.
I am told, but cannot yet know, that this process eventually takes all with it, all comes up for the looking, and falls away. This need not become a spiritual goal if this moment is always enough, we revisit the no-control part, and the future, is of course, only another thought.
There is only the flow and the moment, always.
OK, that's enough advice!
I shall submit your thread for confirmation so that we see if there is any other thing to offer here. I'll Pm you with some info about resources we offer, if you are interested. I'm available to you for as long as you wish to talk.
Oh, you came here with almost all of this already in place, Karen, it was the slightest shift to see what was there. Amazing how much fierce grace exists.
Love, Elizabeth


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