Time to see through the illusion

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vegansatori
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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Wed Aug 25, 2021 4:09 am

Hi Stacy,
I just realized that it's been almost two weeks since we last wrote.
Are you back from vacation? How was it?
I hope all is well, and if you're still busy, that's fine.
We can pick up again whenever you're ready.
Take care, and thanks!
-Todd

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Anastacia42
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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Aug 25, 2021 9:45 am

Good morning

Yes, i was back to work since Monday.

Your last post did say you'd "be in touch soon," so I was waiting. I was online & replying to all the clients who posted. Yes, let's resume.

Lying results in a tense, heavy contraction feeling in the gut or heart area.

Truth is the opposite. It's relaxed, light & expansive.

Obviously we want to follow what's true. We can also dive into what's false & release it.

Have you been doing the Dropbox pointers? Which ones? What are you experiencing?

Loving
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Wed Aug 25, 2021 7:08 pm

Hi Stacy,
Good to hear from you again!

I have been doing some of the Dropbox pointers. The All It Is still seems the most effective in creating a sense of immediate relaxation. But it ends up just feeling like a relaxation exercise rather than pointing to anything new. Do you know what I mean? The Release and Receive also works in the same way. Though I can’t say I notice much being received. But the release part is pleasant.

I also watched a few of Ilona’s videos.

I did run into some doubts and insights of various types over the weeks. I’ll paste a couple things here because I think they’re relevant.

One day I clicked on a recommended YouTube video which was an interview with Tony Parsons, whose name I’d heard before, but who I hadn’t actually encountered. And it stirred up this train of doubts later that day:

“A difficulty that I have is knowing what feels true versus what is actually true. Like listening to Tony Parsons, it's a very attractive idea that there is nobody there, and that there is nothing to be done. But what about all the accounts of people who seem to report that there is something to be done in order to achieve and deepen the state? Is his message actually true, or is it just comfortable? In the same way, do we know that the contractions that we feel from lying, and the expansion that we feel from truth, is actually a valid marker? It feels true, but how do we know it is? Who actually knows it? What internal process is it which is causing the contraction or the expansion in relation to the thought? And if I can't find one, does that really mean that it doesn't exist? And if I could find one, how would I know it's not an illusion?”

That sort of thing generally leads to complete inaction because there doesn’t seem to be any way of knowing with certainty, in a similar way to how you can’t define a word by using it in its own definition.

But then later in the week, while out walking, another concept that I’ve had pop into my mind over the years suddenly felt very true and accurate. I dictated this into my phone while walking:

“Walking right now, it seems apparent that there are just different drives operating in different directions. There is a drive for wanting to be a famous artist/musician, and that drive speaks up because it feels like it's not being satisfied, or its aims are not being acted upon. But there is another drive that is just the drive to be content and minimal and live as simple and basic of a life as possible. And those two drives seem to be at odds with each other. So there is inner tension no matter which one is being pursued, because the other one will always feel slighted. Not sure if there is a way to resolve this, or if the best course of action is just to acknowledge the fact that they are just drives, and not actually me, or some conflicted person. They are really just different programs running on the same machine.

There is an irony in that the process of looking for a looker actually seems to create more of that contracted self-feeling. If there's nothing but different programs running, even the looking is just another program. But it feels in that moment like the most real of the programs. And it seems to reinforce the chronological history of the entity who has been looking for so long. So how do we go about looking without reinforcing what is supposed to be seen as an illusion?

The artist drive sees other moderately famous, or at least professional, artists and gets very excited by the prospect of being like them. And also slightly jealous, as it creates a kind of self-injurious contracted whimpering feeling, bringing attention to the fact that those ideals are not being lived up to. And yet the opposite drive is one to be a traditionless monk just sitting in the house forever doing absolutely nothing, lusting after nothing, seeking no fame, or money, or external accolades. And neither one is really right or better. They're just alternative drives or programs.

It could be said that the looker who is looking is just a program-seeker program. But there does seem to be a cohesiveness about this current state of mind, or perceptual review, that seems to be consistent even during the running of the other programs. Similar to how a person could have bad distance vision, so as they look out with no glasses everything looks blurry. And then if they put on a pair of non-prescription tinted red glasses, everything is still going to look blurry, but it's also going to look red. And if they put on a pair of blue sunglasses, again things still look blurry, it'll just also look blue. It seems that the blurriness is consistent with the actual perception or sensation of feeling to “me” what it's like to be me. Those other programs are just colored lenses as opposed to completely alternative personas.

But then I wonder if too much onus is being put on the visual sense. Not just in the metaphor, but in terms of feeling like attention is really being directed out of the eyeballs. With eyes closed there is still a feeling of similarity, though it is less pronounced. And there does seem to be an internal image of the body that takes over. When I'm thinking about myself, or my experience, there really seems to be a photographic image in mind that accompanies it.”

Sorry for the length, but I was interested to hear your answers to the couple of nested questions in there, and to see if you agreed that this is progress, or just another conceptual trap. It feels true, in that the concept causes a release of contraction in the body. But is it always accurate?

Thanks very much, and have a great day!
-Todd

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:26 pm

Hi Todd,

We need to get you out of your head and into your directly experienced 5 senses.

All of your questions will either drop away & become meaningless or you will experience clarity about them once you have SEEN. No, that's not a huge burden on the visual sense. It is just our primary sense. I'm more auditory and still there is a visual type of component to how I recognized no-self via an exercise I've come to call Butt/Chair.


To put it simply:

Lies are contractions. tense, tight & heavy.

Truth is expansive, relaxed, loose & light.

Most people can find this in their gut or heart.

the process of looking for a looker actually seems to create more of that contracted self-feeling.
Of course it does. It is a lie that there is a self.
“A difficulty that I have is knowing what feels true versus what is actually true. Like listening to Tony Parsons, it's a very attractive idea that there is nobody there, and that there is nothing to be done. But what about all the accounts of people who seem to report that there is something to be done in order to achieve and deepen the state? Is his message actually true, or is it just comfortable? In the same way, do we know that the contractions that we feel from lying, and the expansion that we feel from truth, is actually a valid marker? It feels true, but how do we know it is? Who actually knows it? What internal process is it which is causing the contraction or the expansion in relation to the thought? And if I can't find one, does that really mean that it doesn't exist? And if I could find one, how would I know it's not an illusion?”
I have no interest in trying to "convince" or "prove" this. Your own experience and explorations will show you the truth of it. There is also a thing called "level confusion." No, this truth/lie thing may not always be true at the level of the absolute, but at the relative level.

Yes, relaxation is one of the hallmarks of something shifting, something true, something no-self. You must be relaxed to see no self.

Other than the above, put all of those questions aside and simply follow the pointers. They will take you where you want to go. No more philosophical questions. They are getting in your way.

Actual/Direct Experience - Apple

Have a look at an apple (or any fruit you like.) If you have a ‘real’ apple, you can use it for this exercise. Google for a picture of an apple.

Image

When looking at an apple, there's color; a thought saying ‘apple’; and maybe a thought saying, "I'm looking at an apple."

What is known for sure? Color is known and thoughts are known.

What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?

Actual experience does not refer to thoughts ABOUT something…because that is only just more thought.

Actual experience is sound, thought, color, smell, taste, sensation and the fact of thought arising, but not its content.

Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only color and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?

Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?


While these thoughts are known, what they talk ABOUT can't be found in actual experience.

This is what is meant by "looking in actual experience." What you know for sure, and, is always here.

Taste labeled ‘apple’ is known
Color labeled ‘apple’ is known
Sensation labeled ‘apple’ is known (when apple is touched)
Smell labeled ‘apple’ is known
Thought about/of an ‘apple’ is known

However, is an apple actually known?

Have fun and let me know what you find out.


Remember that it is essential to be relaxed doing the exercises. Straining and stressing and thinking will prevent SEEING. You can't make thoughts go away. Just ignore them.

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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vegansatori
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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:05 am

Hi Stacy,
Thank you for your responses. Philosophizing has always been a bad habit.

I like the Apple exercise. I’ve done similar things in the past with other objects, and coincidentally was using an example just like this a few days ago when trying to teach a friend meditation. But I did it again now, using the picture of the apple you sent.
What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?
Thoughts can only describe other thoughts. Memories of things that look like the thing that we’re looking at. (In this case an apple.) And expectations of how that thing will taste, and how heavy it will feel in the hand, the feeling of it crunching when we bite into it, the smell, etc. But none of it is about the actual object in front of us. It’s just a projected guess of what it may feel like based on past experiences.
Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only color and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
In this case, since I was using a picture, there is just a patch of red and green color appearing on a computer screen. But even if I had a physical “apple” in my hand, “apple” is still just a concept about all things that looks approximately similar and come off of similar trees, etc. It doesn’t refer directly to the actual experience-able object in my hand.
Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?
No, you can experience something that we conventionally call an apple, but “apple” is just a made-up construct for the ease of conversation and categorization. "Apple" doesn't actually exist. (I see where this is going. ;-) )
However, is an apple actually known?
Again, no. You’re experiencing something, but it’s just what we can grasp of it through the limitations of our senses. We’re definitely not experiencing the full color spectrum, or taste profile, or aroma of an apple. We’re just tasting, seeing, smelling, and feeling different sensations, and they happen to all be triggered by this one strange object. But beyond those sensations, the object is unknowable. It's experience-able, but still more complex than we can grasp with limited concepts.
Have fun and let me know what you find out.
This exercise focuses us in the present moment, into our sense activity, and really forces us to encounter the world without falling back on the mental labels that keep everything at a distance. Things feel more vibrant and “real”, though that’s not a great description of it. It also stops some of the mental chatter, and seems to temporarily cause a gap in the “selfness”. Maybe because I feel more in the body and less chatty in the head during those moments.

Thanks very much for your help!
-Todd

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Aug 26, 2021 10:43 pm

Hi Todd
It also stops some of the mental chatter, and seems to temporarily cause a gap in the “selfness”. Maybe because I feel more in the body and less chatty in the head during those moments.
But being more in you body didn't last long enough for you to type here from that place. Don't worry. You can't force it.

Your answers are correct, but you *thought* them. You didn't SEE them.

Please watch this:

https://youtu.be/S1IMtiSA0YU

Then try this:

Please LOOK for any place where your butt ends & the chair begins.

Is there any clear dividing line between them? Or only the Sensation with no clear division?


Loving,
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Fri Aug 27, 2021 4:55 am

Hi Stacy,
But being more in you body didn't last long enough for you to type here from that place.
That’s true. Just thinking seems to “break the spell”, so I have no idea how to maintain it while talking or typing.
Your answers are correct, but you *thought* them. You didn't SEE them.
Could it be that I “saw” them, but that I used thought to relate the experiences? I mean, I felt the dropped-in feeling of interacting with an object without a label, but to describe that immediately reengages language and rationalization. The conceptualization happens after the actual looking.

I watched that video a couple of times, thanks. And then I did the butt-in-chair exercise on and off all night. I also tried it with different parts of the body against other surfaces.
Please LOOK for any place where your butt ends & the chair begins.
Is there any clear dividing line between them? Or only the Sensation with no clear division?
There’s no clear dividing line, just a bunch of different sensations, some stronger and more detailed, and others more nebulous. Though honestly, it depends on how focused my attention is, and where it’s directed. I can definitely feel which sensations are from the body, and which are feeling an external object. If I keep the attention more like a flood light, then the butt sensations get very diffuse and abstract and it’s harder to sense the boundaries. But if I spotlight that region, there’s a lot more detail and the whole experience changes.

Thanks again,
-Todd

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Aug 27, 2021 12:01 pm

Good morning, Todd
Could it be that I “saw” them, but that I used thought to relate the experiences?
Maybe. After you see that there's no self, it will be clearer what is meant here.

In doing ButtChair, you've managed to stay a bit more in Direct Experience & reporting DE.

The LOOKING is the important part, not what you write here. All of these are as unfindable as the mythical "self, " and in the same way for the same reason - none of it exists. Yet, I will keep sending you on these wild goose chases until you can see for yourself that there isn't one.

I know from our chat about Headless Way that you DO Experience some of the relaxation of the truth of no self.

Write only Direct Experiences. That will help. No philosophy or hypotheticals will help you here.

Refer back to Colored Socks and the Direct Experience - Labeling Daily Activities for how to do this. Keep it very very simple. I'm going to do you a favor & ignore the philosophizing and guide you back to simple DE over & over. Deal?

So, please report on ButtChair (not butt in chair, because that makes it sound like there are 2 things & there are not). Stick with simple DE like you practiced before.

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Fri Aug 27, 2021 11:46 pm

Hi Stacy,
I'm going to do you a favor & ignore the philosophizing and guide you back to simple DE over & over. Deal?
Deal. I’ll try my best to stick to just the facts.
So, please report on ButtChair (not butt in chair, because that makes it sound like there are 2 things & there are not). Stick with simple DE like you practiced before.
I’ve been trying ButtChair and the other DE practice throughout the day. Here’s a sample report from one of the ButtChair sessions. Is this what you’re looking for, report-wise?

Feel back of legs against hard seat – feel
See afterimages of light when I close my eyes - see
Smell food from the kitchen – smell
Feel weight of body pulling into chair – feel
Feel tension in neck – feel
Feel fullness in stomach –feel
Hear sound of computer fan – hear
Remember encounter with cashier from ½ hour ago – thinking
Internal image of my body in this posture – thinking
Tension in left butt cheek – feel
Warmth under the butt – feel
Hard firm edge of seat cushion along the leg backs – feel
Picturing the seat cushion – thinking
Mental imagery of the butt and seat in general – thinking
Texture of seat cushion – feel

It often tends to create more of the duality of “me” observing from above, noticing and cataloguing what’s being noticed.

I have, for a while, done a variation of the Headless technique where I go Bodiless, and that induces an immediate spacious feeling, where the sensations are more cloud-like and it’s harder to distinguish what’s what. I tried engaging that during the ButtChair exercise and it became harder to distinguish the boundaries. Like it sort of felt like the seat and back of the chair were 4 or 5 inches inside my body’s border.

Still not sure if this is what you're pointing to, though.

Thanks again for your help!
-Todd

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Aug 28, 2021 10:41 am

Yes. That spacious, no boundary feeling is what I'm pointing to. Stay with that. Sink into it.

You don't need to copy the format of the earlier exercise, but do focus on reporting only DE. If it helps you to make a list, fine.

One thing that is hard to put into words- well, it is is all hard to put into words - is Awareness vs a "me." Just because you're aware of all of that DE does not mean there's a "me" being aware, does it? Isn't it possible that there's only "aware-ing" with no "me?" LOOK

Don't turn Awareness into another "me."

Try ButtChair again with this in mind (so to speak).
I tried engaging that during the ButtChair exercise and it became harder to distinguish the boundaries. Like it sort of felt like the seat and back of the chair were 4 or 5 inches inside my body’s border.
Good! Yes. No separate "self," right? Is there any separate "self?" Has there ever been?

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Sun Aug 29, 2021 4:00 am

Hi Stacy,
Just because you're aware of all of that DE does not mean there's a "me" being aware, does it? Isn't it possible that there's only "aware-ing" with no "me?" LOOK
When I look, it’s true that I don’t see a “me”. But when I look, it appears that it’s the relatively consistent sensory feelings, the familiar relationships to the objects and sensations observed, along with the seeming intentionality of attention that keep making it feel like there’s a persistent “me” rather than just awareness. I guess partly because that awareness seems to access memories of having been aware in a similar way for decades.

I can be spacious for a while, but as soon as I intentionally move my eyes to look at something, or stand to get a drink, it feels like I exist again. (I won’t go into the philosophical and scientific reasons why I’m convinced that this is an illusion. But it has been a difficult one to shake, no matter how often I look for it.) And again, the act of looking feels like there’s an internal self behind my eyes actually searching around inside the body for any trace of solidity. But that attention feels like its own little mini-self. Though I’m pretty sure it’s really just muscular tension in my face and chest that’s causing most of it.
No separate "self," right? Is there any separate "self?" Has there ever been?
Again, I’m trying to answer with just my current experience, but my conviction that it's true that there is no separate self only lasts for moments at a time, mostly when I’m completely stationary and relaxed. Again, as soon I move or talk the feeling of self snaps right back online.

I do try to look at memory or thoughts when they appear to observe them as being independently existing little formations that aren't part of a "me". However the clarity of seeing that often lasts even less time than the spacious relaxed state.

Thanks again!
-Todd

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:58 pm

Good morning,

You're right. We're not interested in the science here. That's all thinking & stories. Remember Colored Socks? (if not, please go back & read it.)

You must look closely. Is there a "me"?

Or only thinking?
Thinking there's a me - no matter for how many decades. There are exercises for Time & Memory, but let's see through these stories of some "self," first.

Explore ‘Sense of Self’

Let’s say that you have lost your keys and you swear that you left them in your coat. You go to look and check all the pockets - the keys are not there. You swear they must be as that was the last place you remember them. You have a vivid memory of putting them there after you left the house. But when you check they are not there. At this point you can keep believing that the keys are in your pocket, or you can admit you were mistaken.

This is just like that. You may see clearly that the self is an illusion but still feel a sense of self - just like the keys. But feeling something to be true and seeing that it is or is not is different. This is why we may find ourselves coming back to your expectations at the start and at the end.

Now, I’d like to ask you to explore this SENSE of self very-very thoroughly. Not by thinking about it, but by FEELING it. Keep the focus of attention on the sense of self and inquire:

Does the sense of self have a location?

Does the sense of self have a shape or a size?

Does the sense of self say or communicate anything?

If the answer is yes, how does the sense do this exactly?

Does the sense of self have any characteristics or attributes?

What is the sense of self ‘made of’? An image? Sound? Taste? Smell? Sensation? Thought?

What is found?


You're quite welcome!

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:39 am

Hi again, Stacy!
You must look closely. Is there a "me"?
Or only thinking?
I’ve been trying this all day on and off, and it does appear that when I feel those brief moments of spaciousness, there’s no thought going on. And that feeling of “me” only appears when there’s at least a very subtle undercurrent of thought happening. So no, not really. But thinking makes it appear and feel real.
Does the sense of self have a location?
It varies, but most often it’s associated with a feeling in my cheekbones, tongue, lips, around the eyes, a tension in the jaw, a denseness in the chest, throat, sometimes gripping in the upper back and shoulders, sometimes a barely noticeable vibration in the back of the head and throat, and sometimes some abdominal contraction. Typically a mixture of those. There’s also a feeling that it’s directing and moving the eyes, so it’s kind of projected out into the world, almost like scanning antennae, but as cones of vision.
Does the sense of self have a shape or a size?
Depending on how it manifests, often it feels synonymous with my upper torso and head. But sometimes there’s an internal image which seems substituted for “me” which is a miniaturized sense of the body, located somewhere in the chest-through-eyes region. It’s very difficult to describe, but often shows up when doing the “looking for a looker” kind of exercises. It’s like an image of the body in its same posture and orientation, just shrunken and internalized.
Does the sense of self say or communicate anything?
If the answer is yes, how does the sense do this exactly?
I’ve never had it communicate anything directly. It just feels like a knowing, weighty, ghostly presence. Are we considering all the constant internal thinking and self-discussions to be from the sense of self? If so, then it never shuts up! But when that happens, it feels like a unified presence. It doesn’t feel like there’s a “me” listening to an independent voice. Its speech feels like “my” thoughts and opinions.

Except for when I’m meditating, or quietly observing the random word and image salad of thoughts that keep bubbling up like there are multiple televisions on in my head. That feels like a strange detached brain function. But when I notice that it’s happening, there then feels like that “self” is there, aware of the fact that it’s not producing those random thoughts, and is instead just a witness. But I suppose that’s really being caused by a second layer of thought. Do you know what I mean?
Does the sense of self have any characteristics or attributes?
Mostly heaviness, density, a subtle buzzing humming presence. Are we considering all of the relatively consistent habits and personality traits that we exhibit to be from this sense of self? They feel synonymous with it, even though they also appear spontaneously. I guess it’s more that interactions with other people and objects create thoughts which continue to solidify and reinforce the feeling of self.
What is the sense of self ‘made of’? An image? Sound? Taste? Smell? Sensation? Thought?
It’s mostly muscle tension. There sometimes feels like a soft hum, or vibration in my head and throat. Sometimes it is also the internal monologue going on, and the micro-movements of tongue and palate when silently thinking. Again, there’s sometimes that internalized bodily image. No smells or tastes, though smelling and tasting things can trigger the contraction of self due to them sparking memories or thoughts. And the only hearing comes from the inner thinking. Thought does seem to create most of it. Largely by making comments that are consistent with those it’s made in the past. By analyzing and categorizing everything as soon as it’s felt or seen. And by relating all of it to no one in particular.
What is found?
No “me” or real stable entity is found. Just a variety of bodily sensations, sounds, and thoughts.

Thanks again, and have a great day!
-Todd

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby Anastacia42 » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:40 am

Hi Todd,

Can you remember a time when you lied to someone you love?

Please scan your body as you recall this & describe what Sensations are found, especially in the gut & heart areas.


Do that & then we'll go back to your pervious post.

Much love & you're welcome.
~ Stacy

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

~ Rumi

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Re: Time to see through the illusion

Postby vegansatori » Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:09 pm

Good morning!
Can you remember a time when you lied to someone you love?
Please scan your body as you recall this & describe what Sensations are found, especially in the gut & heart areas
This is always a little tricky because I have to go back many years in memory to find the time that I've lied to somebody who I loved. So the standout moments are ones that also have a lot of emotional baggage from those days. But I would say it creates a kind of churning and anxious gripping in the stomach, and a vibrating dense feeling in the chest. Again, it's a little more fear-based I guess, because it has that fluttery anxious quality along with it. There's a little of the similar density and contraction that I mentioned in the last post. But in this case it seems to manifest a little differently.

I just tried doing it again while imagining a new scenario that never happened with some small lie, and that does produce kind of a similar abdominal tightening and gripping in the middle of the chest that is similar to what I described in the last post, and doesn't have as much of the anxiety feeling with it.

Thanks again!
Todd


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