Damon: Could you tell me a little about your journey as a seeker, if there was such a journey?
Lisa: Hardcore seeking was operating in the background for me all the time. I was not a happy person most of my life. I came out of an abusive childhood with many conditionings and false beliefs that I genuinely thought would keep me safe and secure but of course they could not do that. But we think that way until we see reality, do we not?
D: When did you start asking questions?
L: The genuine questions about life began in my early twenties (I am now in my mid-sixties). Some friends I respected were very into astrology so that was my first “method”. It was fun and I had the ability to make a lot of sense out of it because I really wanted to connect the dots and find something that would explain my suffering (“It’s in my stars, don’t you know!”).
Eventually I stopped looking for a reason for pain and started searching for a way out of it. This was the real journey for me; and I see now that it is a lot more honest and productive. The imagined cause of the unhappiness was of course gone, being that it was in the past, and I saw I needed to be creative and find a practice that made peace a reality in the present. It was not known at that time, at least by me, that peace was not created but simply uncovered.
I turned to the “new age” doctrines with full energy and enthusiasm, and those were considerable. I tried everything that was available and truly believed that one of them, sometime, would bring me the wisdom, clarity and settling I so craved. There were moments of joy and contentment that were encouraging, but eventually I fell right off the wagon into the old ways: latching onto everything presented by my thoughts, then being twisted and tormented by my own thinking. Some rough years, those.
The turning point for me came in the spring of 2011. I saw an Eckhart Tolle video wherein he spoke of suffering and its end. The moment he began to speak of this I started crying uncontrollably. He was absolutely describing me and my life. I saw that things simply could not go on the way they had been. I knew he was correct: suffering shows up in order that we can have so much pain we are finally ready to let it go. I did not know how to do this, or even if I could… but a huge commitment suddenly appeared.
D: So how did you find Liberation Unleashed?
L: Several months after this I stumbled on a blog written by a newly awakened woman. I did not really know what awakening could be but I saw that something amazing was afoot. It might be what I was searching for! Hahaha! I laugh because all of this was just so utterly perfect. I was suddenly and spontaneously ON FIRE, despite not knowing where to look or what might be found. But ignition had occurred and I was ready. I was burning up. The hunt was on.
It was only a couple of weeks later that Elena Nezhinsky’s blogabout direct pointing was somehow found. It made no sense to me so I dismissed it. The following week it showed up again on my monitor. I re-read it. It still made no sense. Yet the link toLiberation Unleashed was clicked and that was the beginning of the end of imagining that Lisa was a person. It was the beginning of the end of everything.
D: Do you remember why Elena’s writing about direct pointing didn’t make any sense at that time?
L: The idea of direct pointing was completely unknown and alien to me. Pointing to what? Why? What could it produce? I’d never heard of it and had no clue what it could be. It was just a muddle, but one that suddenly had all of my attention. I clicked onto the LU link after the second visit to the blog as I simply felt compelled to do so. It seemed absolutely the next step. It was like following a trail of signposts… “This way next”. It was very clear. Clicked, found the forum and started reading the guided conversations. Wow! Where was I? What was this? There isn’t a legitimate self, no “me”? I had read one account previously about a woman who had abruptly and totally dropped the sense of self, but still I felt like Alice and that this was something that went way beyond a rabbit hole… this seemed another planet. All of those conversations, all with the same kinds of things being said! It was totally bewildering and absolutely pouring more fuel on the fire. I knew it was the right place.
D: What did you find at LU? How did you begin engaging with a guide? Did you engage right away or was it a slower process?
L: I read and read the posts there, clicked links, watched videos and finally, with a bucket full of reservations and a gradual realization that I must, posted my request for a guide. I was scared stiff. Seriously scared. I just did not know what I was doing, felt totally out of control, and as someone who ate control for all three meals this was not a pleasant feeling. But there it was. My guide answered and off we went. Every moment from then on I was in flames. I was obsessed. I had only one thing on my mind and in my heart during those two weeks and it was my conversation with Vince. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else had my attention. I was dying and Vince was the greeter at the border of this unknown territory, urging me on to a new and inconceivable life. Then came a final explosion and everything changed here; nothing was ever again seen to be the same as it was. Total meltdown. Followed by re-emergence, but into a view that had never been imagined as existing. What a thing.
D: Let’s zoom in on the conversation with your guide, Vince. Do you remember the flow of the conversation? How did doing this deep investigation affect your life at the time?
L: Almost everything Vince said to me was electrifying or confusing or both. He asked me to look at all my assumptions and beliefs and that was confusing at first because my assumptions were taken as valid and I could not see them any other way. He asked me repeatedly to look for the location of the so-called self and I did that relentlessly. He continuously pointed out where what I was saying was not productive because it was thoughts about the matter at hand, not genuine looking at what was actually present. The tougher this became for me the more I was on fire with it, the more electrified. I wanted only to break through my own barriers.
Life became focused almost exclusively on my conversation with Vince. Halfway through it I had to take an already-planned Christmas trip and was glued to my laptop in the hotel for the four days I was away from home. I thought of nothing else unless something big entered my sphere and I had to pay attention to it. I was absolutely consumed by this entire process and knew it, even as it was happening.
D: How did this moment of “total meltdown” happen and what was it, looking back on it now, that occurred in that moment?
L: I had been blathering on about what I thought, my beliefs, my ideas, when Vince wrote that my expectations of what would happen in this inquiry were again getting in my way, that I should let them go. As I typed my reply to him those very expectations suddenly appeared in inner vision and just as suddenly disappeared. What remained was the clear and unequivocal seeing of the single wholeness of everything and the complete lack of an authentic self, a “me”. There was just an empty space where it all had been imagined to be. These two realizations were so utterly obvious and indisputable and of a piece that there were huge belly laughs and tears and it was over. Something had shattered and the truth of this was so apparent that there could only be laughing and amazement at how it could have ever not been seen. It’s everywhere, every moment!
D: What did it feel like to see this and what did it do to your moment to moment experience in the period following it?
This was pure joy, pure delight, and that feeling continued off and on for about four days before settling into a steady seeing and acceptance. A side effect, as it were, of this was that because it was so plainly seen that there was no “me”, no self, it became very difficult to use the “I”, “me” and “you” words without feeling like it was a type of linguistic and actual misrepresentation; at times it even seemed to be lying. It was a challenge to get the words out. That took a long time to fade away.
In the time following, there were many further experiencings of a similar nature; more truth came into focus. Beliefs and ideas about life that had been taken for granted or even passionately embraced continued being destroyed. This was an unstable and revealing time. It went on for 9 months. For a while there was what is sometimes called “Zen sickness”, an inability to see anything other than the empty nature of life. This lead to some false beliefs about life being meaningless and definitely a feeling of apathy. But this, too, passed. After that there was considerably more calm and eventually simply life being lived, but always seen in a way that was very different than it had been previously seen.
There is now a soft and on-going deepening and expansion that feels very natural and flowing, not explosive and unpredictable as those first months. There has been a long period of the falling off of further conditioning, particularly of the heavily embraced childhood version. I continue to look closely at anything that feels disruptive and that is effective. It’s a great tool.
D: Can you tell a bit more about these “further experiencings”? What other beliefs and ideas were dissolved in that nine month period?
L: The initial realization of wholeness and no personal self was like a small explosion, blasting out everything associated. It was felt everywhere in the body for days and then gradually faded. The same kind of experiencing then continued to show up, particularly in the first three or four months. From out of nowhere, at any moment, would come bodily sensations, heart expansions, obvious non-intellectual clarity about life in general, my own life, and more. These clear realizations had nothing to do with thoughts or beliefs other than the dissolving of them. It was like the difference between many puzzle pieces being examined one-by-one and the completed puzzle suddenly showing up, not at all resembling what the small pieces had portrayed.
These further recognitions often included deepening and broadening of the original seeing of life’s oneness and that it is not really even a one, a singularity, but something genuinely not speak-able. There were numerous repeated realizations of the emptiness where the Lisa-self had been thought to be. And many more times of just plain old belly laughing at how ridiculous all thoughts, ideas and opinions were! How could they have been so passionately believed? Spouted as if they were written in stone? So funny. It was pure amazement about all of this. Everything that came into attention was zapped by this new seeing. It was a time of instability because I never knew when something would “hit”, and a time of childlike, delightful wonder. Lots of smiling, laughing, crying and clapping of hands, as well as shaking of the head as in “Who knew?”.
There were also powerful gestalt-like recognitions about life itself, that this appearance is considered to be objective, solid and unfolding through time, but that none of this is actually the case. The “blankness” of everything was seen very clearly, that all is a mirage appearing as what is called reality. And the seeing of this emptiness of the entire physical universe is one of the seeings that continues, it has never faded. There is no inherent, solid reality to be found and I no longer look for it; looking instead at what shows up all around me, at life masquerading as a concrete and objective reality. It is not as it had been imagined it to be, but it is what is experienced and I am grateful for it. Very.
Also during this time the obviousness of the idea of choice and decision-making, of being in something called “control”, was clearly understood as false and that, too, has never left. Previously, this never could have been even remotely considered. Now it is seen that control (and so much more) is an idea embraced, has its usefulness, and is another false assumption.
For all of this, I am grateful. It’s an entire new way of being, one that has turned the former way completely inside out.
D: Do you even remember what this “former way” was like?
I remember it in a two-dimension kind of format; since the deeper reality is always available to be seen the surface one seems a bit flat (although much is still experienced as being intensely interesting). The normal, everyday experience of life used to be of resisting it, pretty much 24/7; an on-going argument with reality as it appeared. Very little was accepted “as is”… either there were big thoughts and opinions about it all being right/wrong or there was fear. Both reactions immediately preceded considerable unease and discomfort and of course the big “S”… suffering. Life inside this body was seldom relaxed. The conditioning that had been on-board for many decades was not seen and so all the thoughts and fears were considered by me to be normal and expected. I knew that beliefs were in place but try as I might (and I tried very very hard) they could not be found.
D: Could you tell some more about how exactly the initial realization and the insights following it have affected your day-to-day life in terms of lived experience?
L: Everyday life is exactly the same on the outside (meaning life continues to happen as it always did). I don’t see fabulous colors or read minds or predict the future, which were some of the things I imagined might happen… (smiling here). They didn’t. The big difference is in how life is considered and in the experiencing that shows up in the body… the thoughts, sensations, emotions. And I remember very clearly how it was before awakening so the difference between the two is striking.
After the gateless gate all thoughts and beliefs were clearly in the “Nope, untrue” category and so when something pops up in my own thinking it can now be seen that same way; sometimes to be chewed over for a while but just as often dropped immediately as unnecessary and arbitrary. The fears were tougher. Childhood trauma had instilled a basic programming that did not allow the source of fears to be seen. This was a protective device that worked extremely well until there was readiness to face all of the interior, not just the easier parts. The conditionings as well as many of the remaining memories of the actual events from those early years were then available to be seen.
This was very welcome and very difficult. There had been a lot of abuse, spanning years. The actual events had been deeply buried; only a few remembered and those brushed off with “Oh, that wasn’t really so awful” kinds of dismissive thoughts and firmly-held beliefs. The conditionings were utterly invisible until a few years ago and had constantly influenced every facet of my thinking, feeling, speaking and behaving. This type of psychological programming is self-perpetuating and simply cannot be seen, as the fear of realizing what triggered it in the first place is so profound.
This, too, a protective mechanism. No child can carry consciousness of horrific events right up front every day. And as an adult it can be much too threatening without the reasons why being known at all. Unconscious denial becomes a way of being that protects and shields until it is ready to dissolve. So it was kept safely behind a wall of “forgetting” until I was ready to look, to see, to acknowledge and accept. This did not begin until (not coincidentally, I think) the exact same time that I began looking for the way to awaken, when I found Elena’s direct-pointing blog post and then broke through to truth. This was huge, to say the least. The fear rolled away and there it all was, visible without all the murky and protective veiling to hide it. Truly huge revelations and an even larger gift to myself. The word “gratitude” doesn’t even come close to conveying what is felt about the falling away of all of this.
Because of how thoughts and attitudes have changed, I am now always ready to see what still remains of all conditioning, in order that it dissolve and trouble no longer. And interestingly, the mere fact that I can discuss all that I say here so freely is another confirmation that conditioning has crumbled; one of the biggest and most forbidden items on the lifelong list of “Do Not Do These” was the expressing of feelings, thoughts, opinions or experience. I could never really abide by it and life felt very tangled, confusing and shameful for decades. Almost all of that gone. Just gone. The few tendrils that are still sticky are easily noticed and can then be dissolved when they appear. So not done yet with releasing all conditioning and that is not a problem. It’s too irritating or even painful to not dissolve it, so it happens, and in a way that is more or less felt as automatic. Sometimes it is a process, but it is usually one of time rather than effort.
For me, awakening made the difference between being ruled by the past and becoming free of it; of not becoming ensnared in projecting a future and of not tripping over the present moment. This seeing that thought, belief and opinion can seem true and are not in actual fact, continues as simply the normal and natural way of considering those things. They are not denigrated or dismissed as ill-formed or worthless; just seen, when examined, to be ultimately untrue as to their content. Life cannot be expressed, explained or even genuinely exampled via any thought, no matter how nicely stitched together or strongly believed. This has turned out to be a good way of walking through life, at least for me.
There is now acceptance of whatever shows up. Maybe whatever happens is liked, maybe not; but acceptance of it and of the responses to it show up right alongside. There is no longer the constant pushing away, the judgments, the opinions taken as fact, mine or anyone else’s. There is no longer any following of the pack or trying to please or manipulate others or circumstances. No more fear that Lisa will be bad and wrong for speaking or doing. Even the long-held anxiety that others might view me as those is gone. This is tremendously freeing, extremely liberating.
D: How did people around you react? Have they noticed any differences? Do you even talk to others about this?
L: Those who were in my circle of living at that time were varied in their responses to it. My spouse was and is tremendously supportive and helpful, both during and after. She could see how powerful and absolutely unstoppable it was and was a terrific sounding board when I had to speak the words of my experiencing in order to make some sense out of them, which was important to me then (and not so much now).
Some of my friends dropped away, but it took a lot for that to happen. Meaning: when I was really heavily experiencing the emptiness of all things, and could not figure out how it was that others were unable to see what I was seeing… well, it got a little difficult for them to accept this, I think. They had no idea and I could not really explain it except to say “I see xxx, yyy, zzz” and then try to describe it in a way that might bring it into focus for them. I wasn’t very skilled at that. Because I have never been shy about speaking of my own experience with close friends and some family, if someone showed interest, I did. It was confusing to some. Eventually things leveled out and now I still see the same view but it is no longer so new and startling that I feel compelled to tell anyone who’ll listen. This is now my normal everyday experiencing, just like the earlier one was; not taken for granted but also not considered anything particularly special. I am positive that those who were and are in my life as loving friends and family were and are the exact right ones; that it can be no other way. How could it?
Something that also changed after awakening is that more introversion appeared. There is no longer much interest in socializing, being in public places or doing activities unless they have x-amount of appeal. Granted, I was always that way to a degree but it has definitely become more pronounced. I am very content with my own company and that of my spouse (although I don’t talk as much as I used to; much less now, in fact) and doing pretty much nothing unless there is a clear urge towards it. This quiet life is very cherished. Each has their own version of this, I think… just like life “before”. Were there still children to raise, a job to go to, etc., then those would be done and I would be showing up however I would within those contexts as well. As it is, no children here, no outside job … and that works, too.
As to discussing this with others, as I said, I do if there is an interest. Most of my family live far away and I have dropped hints to some but their interests are not within this arena. One family member has heard a lot about it; all of my friends have. I discuss with others on-line; primarily with those who are living the same experience. I am very open about this and welcome these kinds of conversations from absolutely anyone. Also have no problem with not talking about it when the other does not wish to. It’s not really important that I discuss this discuss, although it can be fun and sharing with others can feel rewarding. And in one sense it’s a private matter; no need to communicate it unless that urge appears. I never feel I have to, I see only that talk about it can and does pop out. Perfect.
Bottom line: Awakening continues for me as it will. Life is now experienced as never before: peacefully, with acceptance and understanding and gratitude. There is still more conditioning to drop, depths to plumb and expansion to explore, but the more intense part (the explosions of insight and sensation, the roller-coaster of adjustments) seems to be at rest. At least for now. Can’t know what’s next and I don’t even want to. This moment is all that’s needed.
D: In a broader sense, what would you say the Liberation Unleashed process is exactly? What is it that happens in all these hundreds of conversations?
L: I see the LU process as being one of razor-sharp, self-employed honesty. It is the blade that can cut out the huge deceits and denials and the just plain lying to ourselves that we all do because it is how we have been taught to live; it is seen as the norm. But it is the most painful and ineffective way of living there is and the blade of inquiry can end it. In LU we confront those lies and our own willingness to embrace them. This can feel very threatening and that is why some are not yet able to do it; the timing is not right.
The guides hold the light and we use it. We look. If it’s time to eradicate the inner darkness then we continue with the honest and ruthless looking. If it’s not, we don’t. It’s really pretty simple. The process takes courage and willingness and an ability to not give in to intellectualism and fear. But obviously it works: the guide points and we go right out to the edge and then fall into truth.
D: At what point in the process did you begin guiding others? Do you remember the first session with a client? What was that like? How did it go?
L: I started guiding others on the LU forum fairly quickly. My first client? Don’t remember, but do remember that I had absolute confidence in the awakening that was showing up here and felt good about guiding. Yet there was still a lot happening in that area and it needed to fade out a bit so that I could point where the client needed to look, rather than just getting caught up in my own seeing of truth. Regardless, some of those I worked with broke free of hallucination and it was very satisfying indeed to have assisted. Guiding is a wonderful way to share and spread this very simple and effective process. And after a while I realized it was not really what I wanted to do, that I might enjoy and be of more help in a different venue. So I started focusing on a blog and did a number of videos, and am finishing up a book manuscript and that feels just right.
D: You’re still guiding on the forum, right? If I recall correctly, you just finished a conversation with someone, no? How has the guiding process evolved for you the last couple of years? What have you learned and what advice would you give to fellow guides?
L: I recently had a client return to LU after almost two years, wanting to finish the process. I hadn’t guided for a long time. At first there was some doubt but it was then noticed that my ability to point had refined a bit. There was more attunement with what could be called the intuitive voice, and it would say “Point to this… now to this”. The client made it through. Nice.
Guiding others has really knocked home that awakening is the same as everything in life; if it’s going to show up then it will do so right on time, every time. When the client is ready, guiding is exactly as LU says it is: point, look, see. Might be some bumps in the road (even big ones) but those are important to traverse and can be. When a client is on the verge… particularly if they are on fire, dying to die… well then. Flames and ash.
Since I don’t really guide steadily any more I have no advice for guides; they all dedicate so much time and energy that really all that can be said is “Great job! Thank you!”. It’s just a great thing to see when someone wakes up from being with an LU guide, or via any means. When I write or share about this it is to encourage that same process, to provide (hopefully) that same impetus.
I enjoy sharing about it; what my experience is. And I love encouraging it in others. My blog is written to share what is showing up in my life in this area. And I am just now finishing the final edit to a manuscript that will go to e book and hardbound form; it’s a kind of a stripped-down “Awakening 101” manual, based on my own experience with LU and what has happened since then. I have You Tube videos that I did in the first two years or so. These are fun to do and I am planning more.
And in the Liberation Unleashed Facebook groups we have the opportunity to contribute in a number of ways. I helped make photo/inspirational quote cards that we then posted on Facebook (and later made into a hardbound volume) that were very well received. We make videos, write articles, manage the website and the forum… I am not the only one who loves sharing this; many of us are creative and involved and it is a joy. LU is genuine community and that is another wonderful benefit of having found it.
D: Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything you want to share? Something that we’ve missed?
L: Only that I never imagined life could be as peaceful as this. Nor that it could feel so full when so little is happening! Can’t explain these, not really, but can say that when anything seems to disturb, it is a fresh beckoning into looking even more deeply. It takes a moment or a month and can eventually be seen as an idea clutched as true when it is not. In this way the conditioning of the past continues to fade and more of what is available in the reality of the present moment becomes ever more clear. This is just so valued.
And to be constantly in touch with the spontaneous, ever-new and un-caused reality of life is precious while at the same moment ordinary; it was, and is, always available to be seen. This also very valued. All this and more make me thankful that I stumbled upon Liberation Unleashed and their absolute willingness to serve. Not everyone is interested in awakening, but I certainly was, and the giving of their time and effort is very much appreciated. And having received it, the only thing I want to do is pass it on to others that are interested. Love that!