Needing a guide please

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paulz
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Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:29 pm

Hi, Paul here, I hope someone can help.
I'm so pleased to have found Liberation unleashed. I've been seeking all my adult life, and I'm now 58. At 17, I became a peculiar kind of Christian, and joined a commune, a very anti -system setup, but with its own oppression and tyrannies. Upon returning to the ordinary world, I considered I had gone crazy for a while, and spent the next part of life trying to seem 'normal', but maintaining connections somewhat surreptitiously with other ex_members of the cult I had been involved with.
In the early '90's, I began seriously seeking again, following a divorce from my childhood sweetheart, and years of feeling the hollowness of an ordinary life, but one lived with the shadow of condemnation for my 'having gone off with that cult', and any spiritual seeking being seen as 'he's off again'; somewhat, anyway.
So, I 'shopped til I dropped' in the spiritual supermarket, flirting with (though I was deadly serious in my search) Gnosis, Brahma Kumaris, A Course in Miracles, Ananda Marga, Iskon and others.
More recently, about 7 years ago, I read Tolle, loved it at the time, and through it was led to study non - duality teachings, Advaita Vedanta and all that, Nisagardatta, Ramana, etc., of late, Robert Wolfe, Krishnamurti and others.
While all that was going on, I trained as a counsellor and hypnotherapist, spent nearly 3 years in professional practice, and although it seemed rewarding, I came to regard it as a dead end. Trying to improve the self, give it more power, all that, I could somehow see non-verbally it just didn't hang right, there was phoniness in there, recreating oneself all the time. This study and practice has left a residue of an almost obsessive mode of self and other analysis, which I would love to be free of.
So, when I found liberation unleashed, I had already come to a tentative, fearful conclusion that there was no self. I was surprised to find 'The Feeling of What Happens' on the reading list; it was sitting unread on my bookshelf. So I began reading it,and found Damassio's notion of the autobiographical self'. Perhaps a year or two ago, I had coined for myself the term a 'novelistic self' which reflected my understanding that we, in collusion with our society, write ourselves as characters, setting up stories and expectaions that form a programme we try to live out. But while holding that, I regarded it as just another of my eccentric ways of seeing. Similarly, back in the '80's, I saw the collapse of self under the influence of a psychotropic (which seems kind of unfortunate, because that circumstance led me to be dismissive of it, but it has stayed with me continually, though relegated to the background). In short, I understand intellectually that 'I' is a fictional construct.
But this understanding feels like a belief, switching on and off. Since finding this site, reading much of 'The Gateless Gate' the videos, audios and everything, I have experienced moments, sometimes hours and even a whole day of bliss, and I have laughed, deep and hearty, at the joke of the I, feeling like the laughing Buddha. I know, though, that these states can't be constant, and that's ok. But this 'I' is so contolling, it reasserts itself and it feels like nothing happened, same old pointlessness, same old anxieties, same old constant 'futuring' to a fantasy time wherein all is ok.
So, sorry if this is long-winded, but I think it would have had to come out at some point in my guidance. It seems to 'me' that I'm there intellectually, but just as far away as ever viscerally. If anyone wants to take on the job of helping me through, wow, how fabulous 'you' (life expressing!) are. Thanks for reading this.

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lex
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:06 am

Hi Paul,

Welcome to the forum.
As you have already studied quite a few processes the ground rules must be familiar to you.
In short:
  • Be honest.
  • Report often, preferably daily
  • Write from direct experience, not from intellect/concepts/ideas
  • Refrain from satsangs, reading spiritual literature or watching spiritual videos for the duration of this process (meditation/yoga is OK)
In your case, as you are an experienced seeker, I would like to ask you one more thing before we start:
Please forget ALL that you learned, all that you read and start with a fresh slate. Consider what we do here as nothing to do with non-duality or any other spiritual philosophy/practice. Not even with spirituality.

If this is OK with you we can start.

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paulz
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:36 am

Thank you, Lex. Didn't expect a reply so soon. Yes, it's ok with me, great. Let's start, please.

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:47 pm

Hi Paul,

Let's dive in.
this 'I' is so contolling, it reasserts itself and it feels like nothing happened, same old pointlessness, same old anxieties, same old constant 'futuring' to a fantasy time wherein all is ok.
What is the nature of this controlling “I”, what is its essence? What is it made of?

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paulz
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:04 pm

Hi Lex,
I think it's essence is fear and desire; IT wants enlightenment, awakening, all that, and it is afraid it won't get it. It's nature is to control, and it is hyper vigilant, and it is always running to the future, spending little or no time in the present. It doesn't seem to be able to accept that the journey can be over and yet it didn't become a saint of some sort, not even a 'good boy'. It is made of fear, the memory of disapproval, so it wants the acceptance and approval of certain others, even though it poses as a rebel. It wants some kind of badge. It is very conscious of how it is perceived, craving respect fom certain quarters. That's how it's been experienced.

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lex
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:19 pm

Hi Paul,
I think ...
This is not about thinking. It is about looking, observing direct experience.
If you look at a table, what do you see?
If you look at this “I”, what do you see?
I think it's essence is fear and desire
OK, there is fear. There is desire. What is the connection with “I” in “I think” ?
IT wants enlightenment ...
Now it's suddenly IT? We're only interested in “I”, so let's not bother with IT, whatever IT is or is composed of.

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paulz
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:08 am

Hi Lex,
OK, thanks.
A table - wood, varnish, legs, tabletop.
I - mental pictures of a body in every kind of situation, mental pictures of other bodies interacting with this body, in the thought forms of memory and anticipated scenes. Also memories and presence of emotions. A table is seen, is solid, is available to all the senses. This 'I' appears only as thought.
There is fear and there is desire. They are not connected to 'I' in 'I think'; there is no 'I' to think, there is only thinking.
So these facts are seen, but habits of thinking and feeling rooted in the no - longer- held belief in the reality of 'I' remain, predominate, even.
Though a no -longer - held belief, when ordinary, daily life is happening, this belief seems to come back full force and generate action and feeling at least nearly as much as it ever did - or seemed to. Is it just that conditioning takes time to fall away?

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:14 am

What do you expect to change if it is clearly seen that there is no separate self?

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:33 pm

What do you expect to change if it is clearly seen that there is no separate self?
Be extensive and don't hold back. It is important to bring all expectations regarding liberation to the light.
What will be different? The positive and the negative. This is an invitation to the mind. Feel free to elaborate.

Another question to the mind:
What is the meaning, purpose and use of the word “I” in ordinairy daily life?

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paulz
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:11 pm

Hi Lex,
Sorry about delay in responding. Spent over an hour last night, and had to quit in response to relative's hospitalisation. Two hours or so tonight, and found I was logged out and it's all gone. Will write again tomorrow eve - thanks for patience

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:15 pm

Hi Paul,

No problem, take all the time you need.
Good luck with your relative.

Lex

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paulz
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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:39 pm

Thanks Lex,
What do you expect to change if it is clearly seen that there is no separate self?
Be extensive and don't hold back. It is important to bring all expectations regarding liberation to the light.
What will be different? The positive and the negative. This is an invitation to the mind. Feel free to elaborate.

Another question to the mind:
What is the meaning, purpose and use of the word “I” in ordinairy daily life?
There are shifts in expectation going on. For several years before finding this site, there was an expectation of some cartoony, everlasting blissed-out Buddha like state that would remain regardless of whatever else came and went. To elaborate, copious amounts of popular psychology reading have probably coalesced with spiritual texts of many kinds to create an idea of enlightenment as a permanent state of calm wherein love for all things is constantly experienced. This image of an 'I' as a static Buddha had become a goal, all the seeking has contained the ambition to morph a fragmented, anxious 'I' into that. There has been an expectation to become some sort of spiritual super-being. These expectations have, sort of sneakily, so it seems, interfered with the clear seeing of no separate self and mental images have been produced so that no self became just another concept of self to be sought after.
In the last few weeks and days, these expectations have been falling away, seem to have been seen through, and more seeing through seems to be happening all the time. There is experience of more activity, but less stress, less interest in goals, yet more participation without analysis. This is expected to continue, not in the form of desire for achievement, but watching unfolding. Life revealing, more of a sense of watching, less sense of directing There is less anxiety around, and this is expected to continue lessening.
In terms of negative expectation, there is now very little. Initially, an increase sensed of vulnerability, perhaps because certain social defences have been seen through and there has been some dropping away of them, but a little experience of more authenticity has provided evidence that there is no need for fear, in this matter.
The purpose and use of the word 'I' in daily life seems to be a means of differentiating between,facilitating communication and exchange between organisms, (a pronoun standing in for a no-noun!) A no-noun insofar as it references nothing solid or real like a table, but only a mental construct. It is taken by almost everyone to mean something real, to refer to a self that changes over time in acquiring extra characteristics, while remaining in essence the same thing as it was when the organism deemed to house it was born. That is what it means in daily life for the majority of humans.

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:20 pm

Hi Paul,

a pronoun standing in for a no-noun!
Nicy. Image

I notice you are formulating your sentences in such a way as to avoid the use of pronouns, in particular the word “I”. Why is that?

Are you that, which is witnessing or experiencing? Are you awareness?
these expectations [...] seem to have been seen through
Sounds like a conclusion, because of that word “seem”. My interpretation is : “Expectation are lessening so that must mean that they have been seen through”. Are they completely seen through without doubt?
more seeing through seems to be happening all the time
What does the word “seem” signify? Why do you use it?
more of a sense of watching, less sense of directing
Is that essential? Does it make a difference if there is a sense of control or a sense of watching or even a sense of being or a sense of self? All these sensations can be there with or without the insight that there is no “I”. Even a sense of separation. It is just clearly seen that all these feelings are emerging without the aid of any agent. All are still possible. Even self-pity.

It is nice that you are becoming more authentic and (hence) vulnerable. That can make you more receptive to the truth. On itself it has not much to do with seeing the absence of a self, though. Rather it is part of a self-image.
...has provided evidence that there is no need for fear
There is never need for fear, unless the physical organism is threatened. Psychological fear is never needed. Yet it can show up spontaneously. Many feelings, emotions and thoughts pop up, apparently with no reason. I guess that you are a lot better in explaining them than me.
The purpose and use of the word 'I' in daily life seems to be a means of differentiating between,facilitating communication and exchange between organisms
That is one of the most precise definitions I've ever encountered. Instead of organisms I'd say human beings (or human organisms), I don't expect tardigrades to use this word a lot.

It can be your use of language (the “seem”s and the “more”s) but I can't figure out whether you have clearly seen the absence of an “I” or “self”. For sure you understood, but did you see. A clear sign of seeing, insight, is that it leaves no room for doubt and it changes one's perspective. Is that the case? Another “symptom” is that it is seen that it is so simple that it is like an insipid joke with a bad punch line.

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby paulz » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:28 pm

Hi Lex, Yes, I have been formulating sentences that way. It's a tricky one, because(let's use personal pronouns for now), I don't communicate that way in daily life, and have no intention of. But here, I have wanted to be focussed on what is seen, what apparently is, because as soon as I start using 'I', I easily slip into 'I think', 'it seems to me', 'for me', all that crap. In an earlier post, you pointed to my use of the word 'it' to refer to 'I'. I missed the point of what you were saying, and I think I get it now. Let's stay with 'I' and not make the issue fuzzy by using different terms, is what I think you were saying. If you think I should go back to using personal pronouns for these posts I will. I will for this post, anyway.
I am not that which is witnessing or experiencing, nor am I awareness. These things are, but I am not. This is seen, now, but is usually forgotten in ordinary interactions, and awareness that thought is just thought with no I producing it is lost in daily life.
'Expectations seem to have been seen through.' That word 'seem'. Yes, I'm a little loose with that word, sorry. I don't expect any eternal bliss state to supplant present experience, and it has been a surprise to see that I don't want it anymore. There is no doubt of this. When I use seem, what I'm trying to say is that this is a new experience, and I have been so changeable there is doubt that it will be permanently seen until awareness of it has been around for awhile. I'm glad you raised this, because I am reminded that in the literature it is said that what is seen cannot be unseen, or words to that effect. Sometimes I need to digest new information awhile before it gets filed properly under 'fact' or 'belief', and beliefs fall away in time.
Yes,I have clearly understood that there is no 'I' or 'self'. Like you, though, I can't figure out whether I have clearly seen this. Well, there is confusion, because I have experienced some perspective change. This is partly what I mean when I say 'more seeing though seems to be happening all the time'. And the absence of the 'I' pronoun in that sentence is not premeditated. The dropping away of expectations has been a surpise to me. The taking on of more responsibility without undue anxiety has been a surprise, and I have read this as a signal that the 'I' is seen through
for the fiction it is, but only some of the time. And anyway, I know feelings have got nothing to do with seeing through 'I'. It's also true, though, that thoughts about a threatened 'I' generate anxiety. I know awareness is never lost, but there does seem to be an ongoing flitting in and out of the 'I' illusion. I don't know if that's just habit and conditioning causing a continuing 'I' based relation to the world, but there seems to be more and more 'flitting out'.
'An insipid joke with a bad punchline' Yes, that's exactly how I experienced it several weeks ago, when I found myself laughing spontaneously for over an hour, thinking I'd got it, then laughing even more thinking 'there's no I to get it'. But then there is forgetfulness, re-identification, 'my' thoughts', ''my feelings', all that.
Thanks, Lex. What's a tardigrade, by the way?

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Re: Needing a guide please

Postby lex » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:40 am

Hi Paul
If you think I should go back to using personal pronouns for these posts I will.
It doesn't matter how you formulate your sentences, with or without “I”. It just seemed a bit unnatural to me and I wondered why you did it, what was behind it. So write as it comes.
you pointed to my use of the word 'it' to refer to 'I'. I missed the point of what you were saying, and I think I get it now.
Let's verify. What do you think the point is?
This is seen, now, but is usually forgotten in ordinary interactions, and awareness that thought is just thought with no I producing it is lost in daily life.
Before you realised this, “you” didn't remember or think up “you” all the time either. Most of the time “you” were not there. Just as you didn't remember being “you” before, exactly so you don't remember there is no you now. Why should you remember all the time? Once seen can't be unseen indeed, but that's something else as all the time reminding your-non-existing-self.

It's like stopping smoking. Before stopping you think of smoking about 20-40 times a day (and then you light a cigarette). When you just stopped, you think of smoking about 700 times a day. After a year you hardly think of smoking let alone reminding yourself that you have stopped.
there is doubt that it will be permanently seen
There is no doubt that sight of it will be lost a lot of times. Another comparison: Santa Claus: Once seen as fake a child can still be impressed by this mighty HOHOHO figure and in the beginning it has to reprogram itself consciously: “That is someone impersonating Santa”. Fear and doubt can emerge even if it is 100% seen.
I know awareness is never lost
How do you know that? Are you sure of that?
- 'An insipid joke with a bad punchline' Yes, that's exactly how I experienced it several weeks ago -
- I have experienced some perspective change -
So now my impression is that you do have seen it, but that some adjustment is taking place to this new perspective.

In non-duality circles there is this concept of “witness consciousness” and my late guru used to say: “Where there is a witness there must be a suspect”.
My impression is that it is clear, but there is some distrust in the seeing.

I would suggest: Just let life live itself for a while and see what happens.
No more questions for the moment, your honor.
Please report if something shifts or gets clearer or also if nothing happens.

This is a tardigrade

Enjoy,

Lex


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