Wow, stormy times!
[...] rather liked the idea of having gone through the gate and somehow subtly got stronger and maybe more strongly identified with that.
It seems like it should be impossible, yet 'ego' can even 'appropriate' the realisation of no self!
It makes no sense, does it? Who could possibly own this realisation? Yet the habit of 'me' and 'mine' gets to work and weaves a story out of it all.... it is probably inevitable if 'realisation' has been desired in the past, this is just the playing out of that stored energy.
Although it may not be possible to prevent the stories from arising, they normally drop away quite readily. When they are first recognised, it is probably obvious that there is something a bit 'wrong' ... a little investigation will normally reveal the absurdity of the story. These 'in-rushes' of grasping are not very comfortable, I'm afraid, but they don't last forever!
the clarity and simplicity of seeing there is no self here comes into view and there is no problem, because it's all just 'me-ing'
yes, this is like a backdrop .... tumultuous stories might erupt, but no need to panic, they subside, and clarity returns. It can be helpful and reassuring to be able to 'reconnect' deliberately with this clarity, but of course this 'clarity' is just another temporary mental state - the realisation has happened, whether or not that particular mental state happens to be present. Sometimes people can worry about having 'lost it', because they identify the 'realisation' with a particular mental state, but, as they say, once you know that Santa Claus is not real, you never go back to believing in him!
Is this something that happens to people sometimes? It's like 'me' has started up again and identified with 'someone' who has seen 'something', and is now desperately defending this position, with a fear of losing it.
yep! a lifetime's habit doesn't (normally) just vanish immediately once no-self is seen. Realisation is the start of a lot of reorganisation, not a final plateau.
Is there a difference, though, between what has started up now and the 'me-ing' that might have gone on before seeing no-self? Is there a difference in how thoroughly it is 'believed' or 'bought into'?
the storm is abating
jolly good, though I doubt that is the end of it all!
a thread of no- self awareness keeps coming back and a certain release and ease as well.
the advantage of going through a full 'guiding process' (which you kinda short-circuited!) is that one gets a chance to develop the skill of 'seeing through' whatever appears as 'self' (real, solid, separate, fixed) at the time. You can still start with whatever is your current direct experience and enquire - what, here, is fixed, what is separate, where is there 'self'? You speak of a thread of awareness - even if this thread seems completely 'lost', it does not mean that the realisation has been 'lost'. It is natural, at first, to identify the 'realisation' with a particular state of clarity, but actually, the realisation can be 'applied to' ('recollected in') any mental state - indeed, it only becomes truly liberating when applied/recollected more broadly, otherwise one ends up trying to live in one little mental channel. I know, I have made the same point above, but I make no apology, it is a pretty important point!
I have noticed a bit of confusion around 'agency', although when I sit quietly and tune into a sense of presence, it doesn't bother me particularly. Questions like 'If there is no agency, what about being responsible for ones behaviour?' and your question to me from a few days ago – 'What of free will if there is no self?' seem pertinent and I think worth me looking at more.
These kinds of questions are kind of teasing.
Pre gate, they are unavoidably real, post gate they can just vanish, leaving no purchase .... yet if one is 'forced' to consider them, it is not like there is necessarily a clear answer, which is why they are such a tease. Discovering that a question is a non-question is not quite the same as answering it!
although you could probably just drop them, perhaps they are worth looking at, as a way of integrating the perception of no-self....
So I'd suggest, first off, just playing with the two states of mind ... on the one hand, can you work up the state of mind in which "I have free will, I am responsible for my actions" makes sense? Can you 'feel your way into' the state of mind in which this is self-evident (or at least credible!)? How about, then, the state in which it makes sense to say something like "there is no self that could exercise free will; impulses, choices and decisions all arise in dependence upon conditions - how could it be otherwise?" Don't get hung up on these particular words, but just play with the two perspectives, the 'there is an issue' perspective and the 'there is no issue' perspective - what do you find?
Another thing that could be valuable is to investigate decision making and willing - IS there a self at work here? Yes, we 'know' there isn't, but what is the direct experience when, say, looking through the fridge choosing a snack? Or looking over a bookshelf deciding on a book to read? Or walking around the room waving your arms around? Choices are made, is there an 'I' making them? How do they come about? What of free will and personal responsibility in the light of this experience?