No there is not. It was never there. It was produced by my thoughts. It still gets produced by my thoughts… because thoughts do not cease. But it does not have an existence outside of thought constructs.1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form?
Was there ever?
The illusion of separate self starts from thoughts and feelings which construct it. Thoughts, feelings, time, history… all kind of tied up together to build a “self.” We think it is real because we believe in thoughts and their constructs. Even when we realise we are not our thoughts, it is really difficult to experience this at all times and one can get fooled.2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience.
Describe it fully as you see it now.
I have been meditating for years and had found my inner self / inner guru…. Yet I continued to get fooled when thoughts were about spirituality and “spiritual self”. This bit is what you helped me with. Thoughts had constructed a “spiritual self” that is advancing, needs to advance etc.
Now I rest in what is…. Thoughts are still there and I do get sucked into thinking and then have to let go…. It is a process that is that way. But my sense of inner expanded space is what I rest in, quite peacefully and in gratitude. Without seeking more.
It is hugely relaxing and clear like clear water that one can see through. I am relieved at not needing to seek. I do get questions about “more spiritually advanced teachers”… but I let the questions arise and I do not need to seek answers.3) How does it feel to see this?
What is the difference from before you started this dialogue?
Please report from the past few days.
The difference is the losing of urgency to advance and seek… reach a spiritual goal… and a sadness at not reaching some goal. There is nothing to do except to enjoy what is. That is peaceful.
I have always been told… “’Grace’ is needed to realise…” I realise Grace is here. I need to not seek more and ask for more. It is already here.
The last bit was about your insisting that I look at my anxiety and urgency around spiritual advancement – to see what really was there, is it real, where is it coming from. I found that it was again the play of the mind.4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
I rest in what is. Decision come from there. Intention comes from there. Free will, choice come from there. I do not know about “control”. I don’t feel “control” anywhere. “Control” seems unnecessary.5) a) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control.
Things happen out of where I rest. They happen in ways that my mind would not have the capacity to understand. It is beyond language or reason or explanation in any conventional way.b) What makes things happen? How does it work
Things work from where I rest. They always have. They always do.
There is no “I” that is responsible for anything except to rest in what is and live how life unfolds. That does not mean thoughts do not come, or it is all “happiness”. It is what it is… sometimes, just quiet, sometimes dynamic and alive…c) What are you responsible for?
Sometimes I think… is this it? I may even feel a bit bored and sleepy… then I either sleep / nap or go for a walk or see family or something.
I do have “bad” moments with someone who irritates me…. I see that as no one’s problem; I no longer blame anyone – the other person or myself. It is what it is and I then think of steps to get around such situations.
I feel calm and clear mostly.d) Give examples from experience
In “bad” or “tough” moments, I may argue, even cry…. But underneath it all there is love for all and a calmness that I will get through this. These are moments that come.
When I feel like I am “seeking” for “spiritual advancement”, I let that thought come and stay however long it wants (usually not long). I do not argue or resist it. I just rest in what is, in appreciation.
At times, I get thoughts like… my awakening is such a quiet and gentle process (although I have had dramatic revelations in the past). My mind wants more “drama”, more “bells and whistles”… there are enough books and videos out there about people experiencing dramatic things. But after my interaction with you, I see such thoughts as just arising, and I do not need to do anything about them. They can come and go as they please.
I am learning every day how to rest in what is, more and more. Thoughts never stop coming --- but I guess that is human living. I feel tremendous compassion or heartbreak when I watch suffering by people, who need not suffer. But I guess it is the journey of every person.6) Anything to add?
I am a social activist and so fighting injustice has been my goal all my life. I pray for guidance so that this work unfolds through love and compassion for the good of all.