Understanding but not really seeing

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Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Sat May 14, 2016 9:56 pm

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:

I was brought here by your book Gateless Gatecrashers (which I've now read twice). And I was brought to that book from reading a thread in reddit.com/r/awakened some time ago. Your book has been great, though I've not been through the gate, only had glimpses. It seems like I must find my path back to it anew every day. Why is it so difficult to simply remember that self/me/I is just a label? Likely because there is understanding but not seeing. It seems like I need help, so that is what brings me here. While I'm just joining now, I also feel like you've already done a lot for me so want to give back when it is possible to do so.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?:

I'm looking for truth. I think it'll be found here (seeing no self), but I don't place expectations on anyone or anything. I very much appreciate what has already been learned via your book, and want to continue on that path. It's easy for me to lose perspective and get consumed by worry or stress. But I sense that knowing truth or awakening will help in keeping perspective and managing the stresses of life (like when my daughters become teenagers, or start driving a car, etc.). I'd like to say goodbye to the "I" and hello to here/now and life.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:

I don't have much background here. Any background I have is within the last year or so. I've read several books (like Eckhart Tolle's, yours, and a few more). Some things I see on Youtube resonate too (like that from Rupert Spira, Gary Weber, and others). I read (though not participated in) reddit.com/r/awakened daily, which is where I learned about Gateless Gatecrashers. I've not had any significant experience with meditation. I've spent an hour or so looking every day for the last several months. There has been progress but not awakening. There has been informal seeking my entire life, but this is the only time I've felt like there's something honest. Thank you for your generosity and considering me in joining this community.

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). : 10

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby Ilona » Sun May 15, 2016 7:15 am

Hi and welcome to the forum.
Thank you for intro. We can have a chat and see where it takes.

You ask, why is it so difficult to simply remember that I is a label?
It's no t a memory exercise, that's why. Once you see in experience, once it's absolutely clear and obvious, then no memory needs to be involved, it's pure unshakable knowing. You are not here to get a new, a better belief, which has to be installed, by repetition. You are here to see, without a doubt, that separate self does not exist as you think it does.

So let's start.
What are you looking for, truly and honestly? What is that you are searching for precisely?
What should be different? What needs to change? What is not enough?

Write as much as you can, at least once a day. This is your process, I'm only here to hold focus. You do the math. :)

Kind regards
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Sun May 15, 2016 12:01 pm

Thank you very much Ilona, it is an incredible honor to get a reply from you. I've spent much time at your website and wrote answers to your "Start here" several weeks back, which I found really helpful (and your entire blog). On weekends I'm taking care of kids and not at the computer long enough to compose a proper reply (unless they take a nap). So am going to marinate on these questions and work on this in my head today, and then send a proper response tomorrow (Monday) when I am back at the computer. Or today, if kids take naps. :) Thanks again. I'm very excited to continue this process here.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Sun May 15, 2016 6:53 pm

I lucked out with time today, so happily back at the computer ahead of schedule. Thank you again, I am very grateful for your help. I've quoted your questions and responded below:
What are you looking for, truly and honestly?
Truly and honestly, I'm looking for exactly that which you wrote in your message above, in regard to seeing the nature of no-self. I'll quote you directly because you put it in the best words: "Once you see in experience, once it's absolutely clear and obvious, then no memory needs to be involved, it's pure unshakable knowing." You hit the nail on the head. That's what is being sought here.

An honest answer should mention that there's a bigger picture – I'm looking for freedom from thoughts – the ability to believe or not believe them. Which in turn means some level of freedom or disassociation from worry and anxiety. But it seems that knowing there is no self is a foundation, so that is all that I am looking for here and now.
What is that you are searching for precisely?
To know myself or rather, to know no self. To see that which once seen cannot be unseen. To have that change in perspective.

I've seen this powerful statement a few times: "I have no more questions." That seems unimaginable, still there is searching for that, and the statement has stuck with me for some time. I thought it was completely outside the scope of what we're talking about here. But for some reason I read it differently this morning. It seems to suggest no-self, as an "I" could not have questions if it doesn't exist. Someday the "I" that is writing this would like to be able to say "I have no more questions."
What should be different? What needs to change?
Nothing should be different. Perspective needs to change. Something that is only understood needs to be seen. What needs to change is belief in self.
What is not enough?
I'm incredibly blessed and by my estimation have the perfect life. Everyday I am thankful, I have all that I need. Externally, I am complete.

But here's what's not enough: internally, something is missing for the fictional I. There are so many questions, but no answers. You know the usual suspects – "What is reality?", "What the heck am I doing here?", "How did I get in this body that eventually dies?", "What happens then?" and endless variations of the same theme. I realize this is where many of the world's religions go, but I've been there and found a lot of noise and only bits and pieces of truth whittled down. Still, here I am, internally homeless (though looking). I'm aware that these questions and the statement on being internally homeless are irrelevant to an "I" if it doesn't exist. But looking inside, that's what I find.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby Ilona » Mon May 16, 2016 7:43 am

Thank you very much for full and honest answers. Let's start digging.
You say that there is something missing for the fictional I. Nice story! Now let's find that I.

Let this thought in and notice, what happens. What thoughts, feelings sensations arise, how body reacts.

There is no I , no separate self at all, none as in zero. No manager, no creator, no actor, no doer, thinker, feeler, no witness, no owner of experience. All there is is this aware being (verb), there is no a being inside the body, commanding what should and should not happen.

Write immediately all reactions to this statement.

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

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Mon May 16, 2016 11:53 am

Okay per your request, all immediate reactions here without going back and proofing, reducing or changing. I don't like throwing a wall of text and I'm hoping I don't scare you off, but want to be fully honest to this process. Please let me know if this is too much.
There is no I, no separate self at all, none as in zero. No manager, no creator, no actor, no doer, no thinker, no feeler, no witness, no owner of experience.
I've read variations of this many times (from your book) and I sense the mind trying to filter it out as something "already known." Perhaps this filter is some kind of resistance to the concept. I'm trying to focus and re-explore it as if I knew nothing about this statement.

The first reaction is: "What is the this I or self we are talking about? I am the combination of mind, body, memories/experience in this individual."

Bringing what I've learned in recent weeks back into this (thanks to you), I'm pretty sure the "I" we are talking about is not that combination of things, but instead a process running in the mind that thinks it is all of those things and that watches them. It knows it's not controlling internal functions (digestion, breathing, etc.), but seems to think it is directing external movements, focus and attention. It thinks it is the software for the body's hardware, and it thinks the internal functions are controlled by the body's firmware. [Firmware meaning the programs that are already built-in to the hardware/body].

So I keep reading the quoted statement above trying to dig deeper. Now I get back: "Oh, you mean like Santa, or Spiderman?". [I'm wearing a Spiderman shirt today as a reminder that I'm no different than the guy on my shirt]. The "I" continues: "But I'm not really like Santa or Spiderman because they aren't connected with any body or brain that exists in reality. They don't have a bank of memories to pull from. They aren't entities that literally interact with others. Whereas I am all of those things. Further, anybody can conjure up thoughts of Santa, where as I am personal, here, now, and with nobody else."

I continue reading the quoted statement and repeating "there is no I." The "I" is conceding some territory and seems to recognize that it doesn't exist in reality as a physical thing that can be located or isolated. But it doesn't seem to think that directly correlates with existence either. Here's what it's saying: "Just because I'm some kind of software or thought doesn't mean I'm not important or that I don't exist. Who defines what existence is?"

Like I said, it seems to be stuck. It seems to think it is something. I'm telling it it's nothing, but it seems to be convinced and thinks I'm being silly with my Spiderman shirt too.

I am going to re-do this exercise again in a bit. I'm giving you the first reactions since you asked for them. It's the early morning here in Atlanta, the coffee is working, and it feels like maybe the I is a little stronger than usual this morning. The fact that I'm typing this out as as a separate "me" and "I" is a little odd. The "me" is relaying info to you, whereas the "I" seems to be on the defensive, scared to talk to you directly. I haven't recognized that before. Weird.
All there is is this aware being (verb), there is no a being inside the body, commanding what should and should not happen.
This feels new and seems like it needs to marinate. But first reaction: difficulty comprehending "being" as a verb. All I see is a picture (in my mind) of an long (potentially infinite) flat, smooth dark metallic surface with faint blue light reflecting off of it. No idea what is. I like to filter out odd stuff like this before replying, but you asked for first reactions.

How does one draw the line between "being" and "I". Is there anything inside that can identify what is I and what is being? The "I" seems to think it is "aware" … is it just a hitchhiker riding on the shoulder of "being"?

If all there is is this aware being, why is it only aware of the inputs (hearing, seeing, feeling, etc.) and outputs (speaking, typing, cooking, etc.) to and from the body? Being seems to be intimately connected with this "I" and only with it.

I know I'm getting caught up in intellectual understanding here, but that's the way my understanding seems to work. Again, I would usually filter the stuff like this that I know you will tell me is beside the point, but I also want to be as honest as possible.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby Ilona » Mon May 16, 2016 1:35 pm

Ok, lots of intellectualising. Can we leave all this mind stuff aside for a moment.
Ask this question- is there I as a separate from life entity, in charge of this piece of life? Where is the I?
Watch what the body does.
Describe what happens.
Don't think! Look and describe.
Simply describe reactions
Don't refer to any past knowledge, no need for that, look right now, this moment, in imediate experience and write what you see.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Mon May 16, 2016 4:31 pm

Ok, lots of intellectualising. Can we leave all this mind stuff aside for a moment.
You'd asked me to "Write immediately all reactions" and earlier "Write as much as you can", but I'm not getting it quite right, so I'm sorry about that. Thank you for your patience in guiding me here.

The gate is behind a wall of questions. Dropping the questions feels the same as religious faith. I know you are here to guide and not to answer questions, as you said "you do the math", and I trust the questions are ultimately irrelevant somehow. I know I must answer the questions for myself or find how they are irrelevant, without feeling it's an act of religious faith.
Ask this question- is there I as a separate from life entity, in charge of this piece of life? Where is the I?
In my direct experience there is not an I separate from the person/life entity typing right now. The I thinks it is in charge of this life (there is knowing that it's not but it's still holding on). The I cannot be specifically located, it is only thoughts and it knows this. Thoughts are real, but the content of thoughts is not. Also known. Yet looking deeply, the "I" seems to think it's the one looking at this, not the one being looked at and exposed. It is entirely too smug.
Watch what the body does. Describe what happens.
It's typing and stress is felt in the chest because "I" senses its questions are irrelevant, and my cats are fighting about something. Hearing is happening (airplanes, roosters, construction). Brain seems to be stuck in a loop about what to do with the "don't think" request.

Now and always, the body seems to do what it does. Largely automatic, sometimes seemingly directed by will (just decided to raise my hand, and it worked). Sitting and observing, things happen and a moment later I notice. But sometimes the noticing seems to instead be a decision. I seem to own the decision part, like the raising of my hand. But maybe it is just a noticed decision, not an actual decision.
Don't think! Look and describe. Simply describe reactions.
The non-thinking response seems to be learned/conditioned, and you asked that I leave past experience out. I must not know how to turn off the thinker correctly due to complete lack of meditation background. But I have tried to type my response with one hand and push away the thinker with the other, as best as I can. Your skipping over the thinker's big questions is making it feel small. I trust that's the intention, well played.

In immediate experience I can understand both sound and seeing as things that are "happening", as opposed to something that I am doing. Especially closing my eyes and hearing, the "I" seems to be more disconnected. This seems hopeful.

I have a question, but please ignore it if not applicable. You mentioned "look right now, this moment". The "now" is something I have been able to grasp. Should I think of "no self" like that of there being only "now"? Direct experience shows past and future don't exist, they are just memory or projection. But it was a lot easier to "get" that. No self seems much more elusive, but just curious if there is some similarity in those two understandings. Both seem to refer to things that don't exist even when we think they do.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Tue May 17, 2016 1:27 am

Ilona, I took the rest of the day off work to break through that wall of questions. It's not fair for me to bring that baggage here. I now know this isn't religious faith, I think I had to guide myself through that. I had to step away from work and the computer. I've done some "math" and made progress, and knocked enough of that wall down to have this gate (seeing no self) in focus. If it's alright with you, lets proceed from there. The day is over and most of the questions are behind me now. This evening the I is still here, but seems to have accepted it has no control.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby Ilona » Tue May 17, 2016 7:37 am

It's really good that you have a burning desire to see though this. Trust the process. All is unfolding as it should. And there is no need for religious faith, all I'm asking you is to see for yourself, to test it, to verify it in young experience.

You mentioned in your answer, that I thinks it's in charge.
Let's examine this.
What is exactly that I does? What is the function, job of the I? What does it do to make things happen?
What is not happening on automatic?
You say that I is thoughts only.
What can a thought do?
Can a thought think?


Here are some serious questions for you. Answer each one of them as truthfully and precisely as you can.

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

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Tue May 17, 2016 11:12 am

What is exactly that I does? What is the function, job of the I?
On immediate inspection, I can't find that the I does anything useful. Maybe it is an interpreter of feelings. Maybe it played a role in survival of the species in some form or another. I don't feel confident that I know the answer.
What does it do to make things happen?
I'm not sure it can do anything to make things happen. But it seems to think it can create new thoughts, or at least weight existing thoughts and assign importance to them.

An analogy would be this forum. There are users (thoughts) and a moderator (I). Both are thoughts, but the I seems to think it is a moderator of other thoughts. But given that thoughts can't think, maybe it's analogy and nothing more.
What is not happening on automatic?
I can't identify anything that isn't happening on automatic. I thought I could, but digging deeper the things that initiate other things seem to themselves be on automatic as well.
You say that I is thoughts only. What can a thought do? Can a thought think?
The brain can think, but thoughts are just electrical movements in the brain. So no, a thought cannot think. It does seem that maybe a thought can do something though. For instance, a thought of danger tenses the body. Or a thought of vacation relaxes the body. These seem to be conditioned effects.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby Ilona » Tue May 17, 2016 11:14 am

What would be lost if there really is no I?
How would everything look like?
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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Tue May 17, 2016 1:00 pm

What would be lost if there really is no I?
What would be lost is identification with that "I" and "me" thought content. The idea of self, the arrogance of it, would lose its power. Outside of those thoughts, nothing would be lost.
How would everything look like?
Everything would be more clear and accurate because it would not be passing through the filter of "I".

Maybe I saw a little bit of it. I went for a short walk outside this morning in the rain with the birds, the bugs, the raindrops, everything green and beautiful. Usually I don't care for this weather, but this morning it was noticed as beautiful life patterning rather than a dreary day. I'm feeling gratitude for being part of it. I said arrogance would be lost above because there seems to be quite an arrogance in assuming I exert any control over life patterning. I seem to have that arrogance, but am glad it was noticed because maybe it will sink in.

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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby Ilona » Tue May 17, 2016 2:07 pm

What would be lost is identification with that "I" and "me" thought content. The idea of self, the arrogance of it, would lose its power. Outside of those thoughts, nothing would be lost.
nice. consider this for a minute:
when a kid finds out that santa is not real, that there is no magic person delivering gifts to all the good kids, it may be disappointing, but christmas still goes on and presents are still received. only thing that drops is a belief in magic.

same here, with this i thingy. it's non existent, there is a story ABOUT the i, just like story about santa, or mickey mouse. but neither santa, nor mikey mouse, nor this separate being 'i' exists in actuality.
Maybe I saw a little bit of it. I went for a short walk outside this morning in the rain with the birds, the bugs, the raindrops, everything green and beautiful. Usually I don't care for this weather, but this morning it was noticed as beautiful life patterning rather than a dreary day. I'm feeling gratitude for being part of it.
good stuff. keep looking.
So no, a thought cannot think. It does seem that maybe a thought can do something though.
it seems, yes, but what is actually happening here? what a thought can do? choose one thought and see what it can do.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Understanding but not really seeing

Postby happening » Tue May 17, 2016 3:55 pm

when a kid finds out that santa is not real, that there is no magic person delivering gifts to all the good kids, it may be disappointing, but christmas still goes on and presents are still received. only thing that drops is a belief in magic.
Yes, I do see this. The first time I caught a glimpse of this a couple weeks ago (while reading your book), there was an initial feeling of loss or emptiness. It was as if I was a robot that that always thought it was a human, and realized I was just a machine. But I no longer find that sad or disappointing at all.

What's disappointing is that the knowledge stuck with me but the seeing didn't. I saw very briefly and faintly and then lost it. It's happened more than once these last couple weeks. Perhaps I only saw a shadow of it, or perhaps it was a trick of the mind. Either way, it feels like I've seen enough that I'm finding it difficult to pursue anything else until fully seen.
it seems, yes, but what is actually happening here? what a thought can do? choose one thought and see what it can do.
The vacation thought has been launched. It spawned more vacation thoughts and then [in the mind] I was comfortably lying down on the beach, feeling the sun and warm sand, hearing the surf. The body relaxed in real life.

I'm struggling to understand this one. It seems the vacation thought caused the body to relax?

I'll try to answer my own question: You and I typing here are part of life running on automatic. I didn't initiate the thought, you did by asking me to "choose a thought". And you did that as a result of something automatic on your side. The content of that thought (vacation) came from the brain, as a conditioned response for "choose a thought". When given a choice, the brain is conditioned to choose something desirable, which is where "vacation" came from. The brain groups and labels relaxation with vacation due to past experience. So it loaded up the vacation memory, the vacation thought, and triggered impulses to make the body relax. The brain made relaxing happen. The brain is a life pattern. The "thought" was a result, not the cause. The thought did nothing!

I feel sort of mind blown. The math seems to add up, but I still find it hard to reduce to a simple concept that would make me feel I can retain it without going through this exercise again. Am I on the right track, or have I stepped of the rails? Thanks so much.


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