Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

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adam_brunt
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Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:19 am

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to exchange emails with nondual author John Wheeler for several months. With him I went through a lot of mental processes and saw through them as constructs. He bascially lead me to the end of my identity. But something was still lingering. My mind thinks and analyzes so much that I knew this would not be very simple!

Around the same time I started watching Stephen Wolinsky's DVD series on Nisargadatta. It seemed like I had found the combination that worked for me in seeing past all concepts and illusions. I heard things that really changed things for me and had to be honest with every part of my actions and thoughts. It felt like I saw what I needed to see, but I was still doing unhealthy behaviors and could never figure out why I was still getting drunk and doing drugs. There was some anxiety and fear that I hadn't looked at or got so buried that I couldn't see what it was that I was really doing.

This year things really changed for me. I had a bad experience where I developed an ultra sensitivity to caffeine, felt anxiety and panic daily, had to quit my job, had little energy. It was time to focus on my health and see what physical cause could be making this happen. At this point I was still very interested in nonduality and spiritual stuff but it was more that I enjoyed hearing people speak about something I was interest in, not that I was seeking. On a certain level I felt like a seeker again, but it was so different because I was looking for an explanation to my anxiety and panic. I had to do a lot of work. But progress soon came. Now I feel much better but I do not feel like I used to. My body is very sensitive to things and I still have panic symptoms. There seems to be a fear of death and of losing my life I have worked so hard to change for the better. I fear I will become one who rejects society and wander the world without any dreams or goals if I truly surrender. Part of me enjoys clinging to the remains of my identity!

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:25 pm

Hi Adam,

welcome to LU! And thank you for sharing your story.
You don't have to "truly surrender". There is nothing wrong with "clinging to identity". It is usually considered normal!

May I ask what you hope for, or expect from our dialogue? Sometimes inquiry into illusion is the thing to do, sometimes other things are more appropriate, like psychotherapy or other kinds of treatment. I have to emphasize that we don't offer therapy of any kind here!

That said, maybe this is exactly the right place for you...

Looking forward to talk!
Ingen

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:57 pm

Ingen,
You don't have to "truly surrender". There is nothing wrong with "clinging to identity". It is usually considered normal!
Isn't clinging to identity the same as clinging to oneself as a separate I notion?
May I ask what you hope for, or expect from our dialogue?
There was an intuitive sense to explore on my own what has been happening. It is challenging to go into this with a traditional therapist that is covered by my insurance. Especially when you are not exactly certain what is happening.

I guess I am exploring what anxiety can indicate in relation to a spiritual discovery. I know these are all concepts, but I am trying to point to that fact that my body is having a set of responses that are new to me and almost out of my control. It feels like I want to be healthy again. I want to feel calm about daily events and in the moment, but I am feeling challenged and not in control.
I have to emphasize that we don't offer therapy of any kind here!
Yes, I understand this. I am curious if there is a spectrum of spiritual experience when seeing all of this. Maybe some people go through different phases(like anxiety), but reach a similar understanding.

If there is some physical basis to the changes, I just have to accept them and be open to what appears.

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:07 am

Adam,
What I meant with "you don't have to stop clinging" was: you don't have to inquire if you're not ready for it! Maybe it is not the right time. You sounded like you weren't sure in your first post.

I can't diagnose from here if your symptoms are related to an awakening of some sort. It can play out in many different ways. I think some experience anxiety. I'll ask.

Have you seen a doctor for your issues?
If there is a drug or alcohol problem, you should take care of this first. The inquiry can be destabilizing (but doesn't have to).

If you have the feeling that there are things that you haven't looked at: there are great techniques like the Work of Byron Katie that really help. Have you done something like that? It is non-traditional and free. I recommend to look into this, no matter if awakened or not.

I'd like to clarify these things before we start.

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:05 am

What I meant with "you don't have to stop clinging" was: you don't have to inquire if you're not ready for it! Maybe it is not the right time. You sounded like you weren't sure in your first post.
Sorry if I wasn't clear! I am very interested in inquiring further if that is what is sticking me up with this stuff.

I understand the process never ends in the sense that life stops or there wont be issues of identity surfacing.
I can't diagnose from here if your symptoms are related to an awakening of some sort. It can play out in many different ways. I think some experience anxiety. I'll ask.
I have been reading that there is a whole spectrum of experience in awakenings. It is a less discussed topic, but people can get stuck in a strange psychological state which can be challenging to navigate on your own.

Specifically, I have read that anxiety and panic can be a sign of someone close to surrendering to the vastness of life and closing the loop of recycled drama from frustration in feeling stuck.
Have you seen a doctor for your issues?
If there is a drug or alcohol problem, you should take care of this first. The inquiry can be destabilizing (but doesn't have to).
As soon as the panic attacks and health issues effected my life, I began seeing a therapist and a doctor as well as changing my diet. I also stopped drinking coffee or any caffeine, I stopped drinking alcohol, stopped any drugs, and ate more healthy foods. That all started back in February. I am still alcohol and drug free. So there is a side to this that required my attention to my health.

Maybe what I am interested in exploring falls outside the parameters of this forum, but I am very interested in the varieties of spiritual experience.

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:14 am

The anxiety attacks can be connected to a so called "dark night" phase. In that case it would be just that - a phase. As you have taken care of diet/drugs/health stuff, i feel more comfortable to help you looking. Maybe you "just" have to make the leap! :)

Ok, great, let's start! (I hope you have read the forum rules – post daily, answer from direct experience etc.)

You wrote:
I want to feel calm about daily events and in the moment, but I am feeling challenged and not in control.
What kind of entity "I" is it that can feel calm, and should be in control of events?

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:10 am

What kind of entity "I" is it that can feel calm, and should be in control of events?
When the recognition comes that I don't feel calm or in control, those feelings and ideas pass and then there is only awareness. Thought labels the experience and then I analyze that experience.

An entity that is concerned about its survival becomes concerned with feeling calm and being in control if those are felt to be associated with survival.

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:58 am

Let's look at the nature of this entity. What does it consist of? Try to define it. Who or what is it that has feelings like calm or anxiousness?

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:30 pm

This entity is a biological organism where the interaction with the environment is separated into levels. Social, psychological, chemical, physical, atomic, and subatomic events occur frequently and very quickly. These levels can feel disintegrated, but they must be related in order to function. When all these function well together and there is no discomfort the organism recognizes that as calm or happy. When all these processes fell out of homeostasis, there may be process that become associated with anxiousness.

Out of response to survival there must have come some necessity to identify with a center, an I, to protect. Yet the I is limited. It represents a kind of wall that separates the body from the rest of the world. Is there really a wall? Only an imaginary wall that informs our daily experience as a separate I entity.

I can type all of this yet there is a very subtle feeling that it is not true. Like there is someone inside that doesn't believe it. The illusion is very convincing. Even when you think you stopped believing in it. It's still there.

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:46 pm

I can type all of this yet there is a very subtle feeling that it is not true. Like there is someone inside that doesn't believe it. The illusion is very convincing. Even when you think you stopped believing in it. It's still there.
That is because you are thinking instead of looking. What you write is not wrong:
Out of response to survival there must have come some necessity to identify with a center, an I, to protect. Yet the I is limited. It represents a kind of wall that separates the body from the rest of the world. Is there really a wall? Only an imaginary wall that informs our daily experience as a separate I entity.
Pretend for a minute that you don't know anything. Total amnesia!
Now look:
- Where is the border between "you" and "world"?
- Is an activity "seeing" happening, which is done by a "seer" separate from the "seen"? Don't be fooled by grammatics which requires subject-predicate-object. Describe what is really, undeniably there.

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:46 pm

Pretend for a minute that you don't know anything. Total amnesia!
Now look:
- Where is the border between "you" and "world"?
- Is an activity "seeing" happening, which is done by a "seer" separate from the "seen"? Don't be fooled by grammatics which requires subject-predicate-object. Describe what is really, undeniably there.
I don't know where the border is. Any border I think up is only a mental construct with a vague reference. I know there is a physical border to the inside of the body by what we call the outside of the body that is there for protection.

I don't know where seeing is happening, but it is happening. When I stopped and take notice it just takes place. I don't have control over that process called seeing. While seeing I can feel my sense of observer disappear and then come back.

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:53 am

I don't know where the border is.
Look, don't think. Do you SEE a border between "you" and "world" in direct experience?
Any border I think up is only a mental construct with a vague reference. I know there is a physical border to the inside of the body by what we call the outside of the body that is there for protection.
You say you "know" there is a border. Is that even true? The borders get blurry as soon as you investigate them (the air you breathe? Hair and fingernails? Bowel bacteria?). But all that is just learned stories, you don't have to spend too much time on thinking about them.

What I want you to find out is what you really KNOW in this moment. And distinguish this from the thoughts about it.
I don't have control over that process called seeing.
No control is quite true! Sights just appear, you can't keep sights from appearing, even if you close your eyes.
But, is there really a "process"?
While seeing I can feel my sense of observer disappear and then come back.
That is ok. Feelings and thoughts appear and disappear, just like the sights.

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:32 pm

I don't see a boarder but I can feel the separation between people. one can sense the barrier that others create and the body responds to that naturally. even though some one else may express their own sense of a barrier doesn't make it true.


I can see there is no me at the center of existence but in the world others express their own sense of separation which my body reacts to.that reinforces old beliefs about identity to develop in the mind. but I guess whatever comes up will come up for observation.

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Ingen
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby Ingen » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:19 pm

I don't see a boarder but I can feel the separation between people.
It is better to investigate the senses separately for the time being. Really concentrate on the senses, without listening to the thoughts telling you what other people "make you feel".

What do you feel in direct experience, e.g. when you lie down with eyes closed? Can you feel a border between you and the matress, or are there some blurry feelings that you construct to a body image via memory? Can you say something about your gender, body form, height?
others express their own sense of separation which my body reacts to.
Body reaction may happen. The big question is: does this body have an owner?

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adam_brunt
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Re: Looking for a guide to explore the changes of life

Postby adam_brunt » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:25 am

Thank you for the help with this Ingen. I've been going through the direct experience and other sections of the LU app. It has been helpful to revisit the exercises.

Without using thought, feelings, emotions, or sensations i can't feel any boarders. Also, without using thought, feelings, emotions, or sensations I can't sense my gender, my height or any other limits.

Labeling can provide useful in certain situations, but everything exists prior to labels and isn't waiting to be labeled by an outside observer!


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