Rogier and Nick

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Nick
Posts: 272
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:53 pm
Location: USA

Rogier and Nick

Postby Nick » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:56 am

the following discussion took place on Liberation Unleashed facebook group "The Gate":


Nick welcome Rogier, please introduce yourself. What brings you here?
August 29 at 12:20pm · Like

Rogier Hi,

Thank you for accepting my request to become a member of the group. I became interested in Advaita in the winter, when I was in a depression. I did not understand why people do certain things, such as the always striving for more achievement and I had my doubts about free will. Now it is going much better with me, but I seem to be still controlled by my thoughts, such as thinking about possible future 'disasters' (negative thoughts) that are focussed on my imagined self, which frustrates me. I have read quite a bit of books, and I think I can understand intellectually quite well that there is no seperate me, but I just seem to not be able to put it in practice, I seem to still differentiate between me and others. I hope someone can guide me in getting some insights.
August 29 at 2:01pm · Like

Nick Thanks for the into, Rogier. I will guide you. Please take a minute to write down some of your expectations. What do you want? What do you think will happen realistically? Any fears? And also, please explain to me what does "I" mean to you?
August 29 at 8:07pm · Like

Rogier Hello Nick, thank you for becoming my guide. My expectations are that I will understand who or what I am, I still seem to be too much focused on my body/mind system. I don't believe that I am a seperate entity, that I have free will, but still I am not accepting the flow of life. This has a link with my fears, I suffer some sort of social anxiety, especially when I do not feel so good and I am not so happy (It was also the worst when I felt depressed during the winter). Although many people see me as a very social person and I have many friends, I get nervous around (attractive) girls. I think I want to defend that imaginary I, that has to be the nice, cool guy. I only dare to speak with them when going out with friends, and when I drink alcohol, and then I feel totally comfortable. The same is the case with presentation anxiety. It is all the fear to become nervous, which causes that illusionary I to get hurt. The bizarre thing is that I know this thoughts are irrational, but there is no acceptation. I am still too much focused on the "outside" world, thinking too much about possible future events. What that I realistically means to me is that although I can understand that I am the whitness of everything, I still seem to think that I am this body.
August 30 at 6:16am · Edited · Like

Nick Rogier, thanks for your response, and for detailing your expectations. I am telling you that there is NO you at all, NO witness of everything. As in zero. There never was. What thoughts and feelings come up when you read this statement?
August 30 at 8:24am · Like

Rogier That is indeed exactly the thing I find hard to understand. But how can these things be whitnessed without a whitness? I seem to put some sort of invisible entity inside myself (the whitness) that whitnesses.
August 30 at 8:46am · Like

Rogier A new kind of ego
August 30 at 8:47am · Like

Rogier Especially hard to understand I find the following: I have certain feelings and thoughts you don't have. So isn't there still some sort of differentation between us? How can we be one?
August 30 at 8:54am · Like

Rogier After spending so much time into Advaita, being busy with it for months, so much thinking about it.... I think that also frustrates me Nick, still not understanding and getting that insight. Do you think that could be a problem, Nick? That greediness and not fully accepting the moment how it is now?
August 30 at 9:19am · Like

Nick You have expressed a ton of questions and issues here, Rogier. I am not here to answer or explain them all to you. Pick any Advaita teacher and I'm sure they have explained all of this stuff at length in their books and lectures. What I am offering to you is to guide your own inquiry with QUESTIONS. I will ask, you will answer, and I'll point you in the right direction to find the truth. It will take as long as it takes. I expect you to take a temporary break from reading books, watching videos, attending satsangs, etc. until we are done here. Does this all sound ok?
August 30 at 9:27am · Like

Nick the reason i say all this is because the way we do things at LU is sort of the opposite of a typical Advaita satsang. Here WE ask questions, and YOU answer, lol!
August 30 at 9:31am · Like

Rogier Alright Nick! Sorry! Sounds good to me! Please go on :-).
August 30 at 9:39am · Like

Nick You said that it still feels like there is a you as the body and as a witness. I am saying that this is imaginary, a story like Batman. Are you more real than Batman? How do you know?
August 30 at 9:50am · Like

Rogier I know I am more real than Batman because I really see these things, such as toughts and sensations in my body. I see the image of the world. This is wat makes it real and less imaginary than the story of batman.
August 30 at 10:00am · Like

Nick ok lets examine the thoughts. do you control them? can you choose what thoughts to have or not have? is there a thinker?
August 30 at 10:47am · Like

Rogier No, I do not control them, otherwise I would choose to be always happy or stop having negative thoughts. I feel like I have totally no control over these thoughts, and that they come and go, wether I want it or not. The same is the case with liking certain people, certain food etc. I see my body/brains as the thinker, creating these thoughts unconsciously.
August 30 at 11:07am · Like

Nick ok so when the thoughts "happen", WHERE do they occur? as in what location?
August 30 at 11:09am · Like

Rogier I know they occur in my brain, but when I close my eyes, i can't locate them. The only thing I know is that these thoughts occur in this body (brain) as a location.
August 30 at 11:17am · Edited · Like

Nick and how do you know that? do you sense a "boundary" where the skull is, or the skin, and all the thoughts are in there? i know this sounds dumb but check it out...
August 30 at 11:59am · Like

Rogier I can sense some sort of boundary.... Especially if I put something like a hat on, so I can feel my skin. The thoughts are close to me, instead of far away. But a exact location i can't specify.
August 30 at 1:10pm · Like

Nick Thoughts are happening. There are physical sensations of a head with a hat on. There's a visual experience as well. Check and see if all this info is being wrapped up into a story and a belief. Is there really a boundary in reality, or just a story about a boundary?
August 30 at 1:45pm · Like

Rogier I am indeed assuming a boundary, assuming that the physical sensations are the boundary. Together with the visual experience I am indeed seem to be making up this story...... If you look at it this way I don't think there is really a boundary that you can experience.
August 30 at 3:57pm · Like

Nick so... where do the thoughts really happen??
August 30 at 4:01pm · Like

Rogier I guess that is called Consciousness then, some sort of black hole.... based on experience you can't define where these thoughts happen... but you just know these thoughts are made up in the body (in the skull), because without a body these toughts would not arise, and you know your thoughts come from the brain, which is based on science. This is hard for me to understand.
August 30 at 4:58pm · Like

Nick <<based on experience you can't define where these thoughts happen>> that's a cool way of putting it! We can come back to this later in more detail... i liked what you were saying about making up a story in your previous post. "I"m doing this", "I'm thinking about that", "This is happening to ME"... etc. This I is like a label that tells stories... Can you find the I in reality, apart from the stories told by thought??
August 30 at 5:07pm · Like

Rogier What a good questions.... No, I can't find an I. In that sense there are only toughts and things that happen..... I am going to have a sleep over this now..... May I ask where you are from, Nick?
August 30 at 6:47pm · Like

Nick i'm in Cleveland, USA. GMT-5. How about you? Sleep well, please post more tomorrow! Describe to me more about how 'I' is a thought...
August 30 at 7:11pm · Like

Rogier GMT +1, Holland :-). Okay, I will. Thanks! Have a nice evening!
August 30 at 7:39pm via mobile · Like

Rogier I think it became al much more clear to me yesterday.... I indeed can't find an I. I said that toughts come up in my brain or body.... but you can also say they come up in this house or the world.... You can define your own border. I think they indeed just come up in Concsciousness, because that border is just a tought.
August 31 at 6:09am · Like

Nick Cool. Describe some more about how the I thought operates... does it come before an "intentional" action, or after?
August 31 at 8:21am · Like

Rogier Well...... You can think beforehand, I am going to do this or that, but this is a tought that comes up. I am thinking that I am the one doing it, but that action is caused by thoughts I do not think I have control of. The same is the case with other things I do more spontanously.
August 31 at 9:19am · Like

Nick ok, i see what you are saying: the supposed "intention" to do something is also just another thought. So now we agree that I or self is made up of thoughts only. Can a thought think? There is no doer but is there any experiencer "hearing" these thoughts?
August 31 at 9:26am · Like

Rogier No, a thought can not think, because both are the same thing. The experiencer question I find difficult....
August 31 at 9:30am · Like

Rogier We found out that there is no experiencer.....
August 31 at 9:31am · Like

Rogier The only thing I can say is that at your place there come up certain toughts, and at my place
August 31 at 9:39am · Edited · Like

Rogier I still find that the difficult part, that you have other thoughts than me, it gives me still some idea of seperation, altough it could be all consciousness
August 31 at 9:36am · Like

Nick well this idea that there is a "here" and "there" is also a belief made of thoughts, correct? Same with time. These are just stories. All is here and now... and right here and now the story is about Rogier, not about Nick or Batman. And, in the story, Rogier is a human who lives his life and his experiences. You are expecting Rogier to wake up and transform into an omniscient being, but it can't happen. Rogier can't wake up cos he doesn't exist except as imaginary character in a story.
August 31 at 9:57am · Like

Rogier Yes, the time thing I do understand, that these are toughts, there is only a now. But with location I find that difficult, if I look at somebody else you can observe that there is a here and there. Still some sort of seperation.... but I find it difficult to see trough this.....
August 31 at 10:23am · Like

Nick ok let's examine this "looking"... Is there a separation in reality between looker, looking, and objects looked at? When you're gazing around is there any barrier or boundary between "you" inside and "the world" outside? Is there a "center" inside your head or is this a story? Don't give a textbook advaita answer but check it out in reality and describe with your own words 100% honestly.
August 31 at 10:26am · Edited · Like

Rogier Ok... interesting..... Going to take a walk with the dog now... good moment to examine this, when I am back you will hear from me ;-).
August 31 at 10:28am · Unlike · 1

Rogier I can't find a seperation between objects, I label them with my thoughts. But still, altough I do not see a seperation, I am looking from a certain viewpoint towards to objects. From indeed some sort of center (my eyes) towards the outside.
August 31 at 11:47am · Like

Nick When you look at a scene, there is one image, a totality. You can pick apart individual object but like you said its just thoughts labeling, not real separate objects. So, where are YOU apart from the image?
August 31 at 11:57am · Edited · Like

Rogier Hmmm in that sense there is no me.....
August 31 at 12:05pm · Like

Rogier But just a thought that says I am looking from a point towards another point
August 31 at 12:06pm · Like

Rogier And I am not looking, but looking just happens
August 31 at 12:08pm · Like

Nick do you exist?
August 31 at 12:11pm · Like

Rogier No
August 31 at 12:29pm · Like

Rogier But still, I do not see it as a totality
August 31 at 12:31pm · Like

Rogier I think the feeling of the physical body looking towards other things is still very strong...
August 31 at 12:37pm · Like

Nick Would anything be different in reality whether the thoughts and feelings and stories of being a self are there or not?
August 31 at 1:06pm · Like

Rogier No, I do not think so, because I do not always have these thoughts and feelings of being a self.
August 31 at 1:14pm · Like

Rogier And still reality is the same
August 31 at 1:15pm · Like

Nick so what's the problem? is it wrong for there to be the APPEARANCE of a separate body? if an imaginary separate self appears AS PART OF the totality of life, does that diminish anything in any way?
August 31 at 1:33pm · Like

Rogier No, you are right
August 31 at 1:58pm · Like

Nick Don't just agree, use your own words, describe it. Is there a self in any way?
August 31 at 7:58pm · Like

Rogier Just came back from a night out.... 4 am here now... but I was thinking about this the last hours and I can't find a self. Maybe there is some sort of hidden self, just like the whitness in the beginning with your talk... but I cannot find it. An example of the way I see there is no self is that I have a beep in my ear since wednesday, when I came back from vacation and after partying every day...... Having totally no control about it... and getting a little bit annoyed about it, breaking the silence I could experience.... Totally no control in life... I did not choose to not use ear plugs and get this, it just happened. But still, I think there must be some hidden self I do not see at this moment. I do however have the feeling that we came much more near towards breaking that illusion of the self.
August 31 at 10:07pm · Like

Rogier I am going to sleep now Nick, hopefully we can talk more about it tommorrow, thanks again for all the pointers you provide me
August 31 at 10:09pm · Like

Rogier And I catch myself now about saying there is a beep in my ear.... but I know there is just a beep... there is no ear that is mine. That is just a thought.
September 1 at 9:45am · Edited · Like

Nick Rogier, the thoughts and feelings of self, what are they? Are they referring to something real, or just thoughts?
September 2 at 2:31pm · Like

Rogier These thoughts come and go, the thoughts in themselves are not real for sure.... All the thoughts that come up about the self are just beliefs.
September 2 at 4:31pm · Like

Rogier The thought that the self is everything, because borders are imaginative.... Can you call that another belief? The thought itself can't be real because it comes and goes.....
September 2 at 5:07pm via mobile · Like

Rogier That is the only thing that I can think of as the self... But that is a new conceptualization of the self, but you told me there is no self. Maybe I am overlooking something here?
September 2 at 5:15pm via mobile · Edited · Like

Nick There are no unicorns either. But there are thoughts about unicorns. Somebody could be confused and believe there are unicorns. But where are they?
September 2 at 10:26pm · Like · 1

Nick So now, looking at no-self... what is that is "doing" the looking? Is there anything??
September 2 at 10:26pm · Like

Rogier I can't find it.
September 3 at 9:58am · Like

Nick more...describe what's going on.
September 3 at 11:06am · Like

Rogier I do not believe there is a doer of any kind, and everything just happens. That there is no 'I' that has the control over life. Feelings and thoughts just come up and go. The great thing I have learned so far is that borders are imaginary.... that there was labelling in calling certain things the I. If I read it back, saying that my body/brain is needed for thoughts, I realize that not only a body is needed for the thoughts, but also the world, the whole universe. The I is a product of the mind. I do not think something is 'doing' the looking, but that it just happens.
September 3 at 11:51am · Like

Nick you said <<i do not believe there is a doer of any kind>> is this different from before? has anything changed in reality?
September 3 at 12:42pm · Like

Rogier Well, at first i thought that the I could be some sort of whitness.... That could choose to listen to certain thoughts. Now I know that there are just thoughts, and nothing more. I have the feeling I understand that in an intellectual way, but nothing changed in reality.
September 3 at 12:57pm · Like

Nick Let me rephrase... Is any you that has the thoughts and beliefs? Was there ever?
September 3 at 1:32pm · Like

Rogier Hmmmm.... This thoughts would not arise if this was a different body. This is confusing.... Although there is no I that chooses for these thoughts, this still feels as seperation, there is the me again that claims ownership.....
September 3 at 1:54pm · Like

Nick but different body is not what you mean by the word "self"... self/witness is a separate entity that experiences thoughts subjectively. Who cares what body appears, what thoughts appear or do not appear? The thoughts tell a story of this me that owns the thoughts, but can you find it as a real thing? Or just as a story?
September 3 at 2:11pm · Like

Rogier Nope, indeed these thoughts tell the story.... If the thoughts are excluded so little remains..... Then the only things that remain are seeing and sensing..... And no object and subjects....
September 3 at 4:23pm · Like

Nick what is the difference between Rogier and Batman? Are you more real?
September 4 at 8:16am · Like

Rogier No.... that Rogier are thoughts telling the story of Rogier. All assumptions and beliefs.
September 4 at 9:30am · Like

Rogier So in that sense there is no difference, besides that the Rogier story seems to be much more real :-).
September 4 at 9:30am · Like

Nick Have you made the self "go away"? Is this possible?
September 4 at 9:40am · Like

Rogier There is no I that lets the self go away, it just happens.... As the self is a thought, it comes up and goes away. There was never a 'real' self that is gone now..... In some situations this thought was even not there.
September 4 at 9:56am · Like

Nick What is it that sees and understands this? Is there some thing?
September 4 at 10:06am · Like

Rogier I can not find anything that sees and understands this. Tough one....
September 4 at 10:38am · Like

Nick well just describe whats happening... on Friday you wrote <<I am not looking, but looking just happens>> Is this still apparent? Does there need to be more? Is there any THING in life that does stuff like looking, feeling, thinking, etc?
September 4 at 10:43am · Like

Rogier Yes, it is still apparent that everthing just happens and there is no I that is reponsible for these things. Life is just flowing. The thing that 'I' still have problems with is indeed the THING in life that does stuff like looking, feeling, thinking etc. I understand now that the thoughts are coming from a TOTALITY, and that these borders are imagined. But still, the conviction that the brain is the thing in life that does these stuff is very strong.
September 4 at 12:52pm · Like

Rogier I also thought about other things that does the stuff, but there isn't anything more I can think about at this moment.
September 4 at 12:54pm · Like

Nick Yeah no borders, these are just ideas construed by thoughts, stories. Experience doesn't happen inside the brain. The brain is just a part of life.

I think you are expecting to find some "right answer", to come up with WHAT is this thing doing everything. Like a need to prove that you can achieve something, GET something... no need my friend.

Life flowing, no self in reality, that's it. This is the "gateless gate." So you tell me, can you cross a gateless gate? What will change in reality?
September 4 at 1:08pm · Like

Rogier Hmmm that it is called the gateless gate indeed makes much sense now.... Indeed I seem to have some of expectation that there is something to get: Some sort of big insight, some sort of special feeling. It still feels like I came much closer with our conversation, but that something is still away. But now, there is also understanding that life totally flows, and that it will be flowing, so nothing will change. There is a feeling of emptiness, of no control, something wants to still have that control.
September 4 at 1:26pm · Like

Nick its just part of the story, this need for control. it's not real, just another thought. How can it be possible to GET anything when there's noone that can HAVE anything? :)
September 4 at 1:28pm · Like

Rogier Hehe, thanks Nick. I need some time to think about this, as I am very busy this evening finishing a university project, but it seems logical (although it sounds SO simple).
September 4 at 2:01pm · Like

Nick Cool Rogier, good luck with the project. You come back when ready and let me know: what are your doubts and what's missing?
September 4 at 2:07pm · Like

Rogier Still I notice that anxieties come up (but less intense the last days), can these still come up if the ilusion of the self has been seen trough?
September 4 at 3:30pm · Like

Nick yeah thoughts feelings, anxiety, so what? But there's a difference between anxious thoughts and belief in BEING anxious...
September 4 at 3:33pm · Like

Rogier That makes sense :-)
September 4 at 3:37pm · Like

Nick feelings, thoughts, "sense of self" all this shit continues. Can you see through its illusion, see that it's just telling a story with no real YOU behind it all? It can't affect you because there is NO YOU to be affected, lol...
September 4 at 3:41pm · Like

Nick how does it feel right now?
September 4 at 3:42pm · Like

Rogier Strange, confusing, empty are the first three words that come up.
September 4 at 3:43pm · Like

Rogier But also logical and very simple.
September 4 at 3:43pm · Like

Nick can you explain the illusion of separate self to me? How does it start, how is it "seen thru"? Give me some details when you get a chance.
September 4 at 4:09pm · Like

Rogier Ok, Nick. I will do tommorrow!
September 4 at 4:45pm · Unlike · 1

Rogier The illusion of the seperate self are just thoughts, assumptions about an illusionary border within people call the I. It starts with thoughts telling that YOU are doing something, which is seen trough by realizing that these thoughts themselves are doing that something. These thoughts flow like a river, and no I that can do something about that. People are just like flowers, with the only difference they have a mind that think they are the ones doing the growing.
September 5 at 12:17pm · Like

Nick how does it feel to see this?
September 5 at 1:04pm · Like

Rogier Thoughts are telling that this seems so simple, as there are so many books about Advaita, and the illusion of the self. Why do so many books tell about this illusion of the self so complicated? But on the other side it is very clear, there is a feeling of gratification and emptiness.... Many thoughts about this self stopped now, which is good since I have only 9 days left to finish my master thesis on the university, and all that thinking took many time ;)
September 5 at 1:28pm · Edited · Like

Nick ha!
September 5 at 1:31pm · Like

Nick how would you explain this stuff to a friend who has never heard of it before?
September 5 at 1:31pm · Like

Rogier Explain that there is not an I that creates the thoughts, but the receiver of thoughts. Telling him to try not to think about things for one minute. That these thoughts are responsible for his behavior, and not the I. They just come up and go, flowing like a river.
September 5 at 2:52pm · Like

Rogier And that all the thoughts are imaginary and not real, such as thoughts about borders, all created by the mind
September 5 at 2:53pm · Like

Nick you said <<there is not an I that creates the thoughts, but the receiver of thoughts>> Please explain this more.
September 5 at 2:55pm · Like

Rogier Already expected that you would go further with that ;)... well, there is no receiver, thoughts just happen. That's it.
September 5 at 3:00pm · Like

Nick <<all the thoughts are imaginary and not real>> I think I get what you are saying here... the thoughts about self are real, they exist as thoughts like a thought about a unicorn, but there's no REAL unicorn or self. Is that right?
September 5 at 3:04pm · Like

Rogier Yes. So the things that can be defined as real are: Thoughts, feelings such as a cut in the finger, sensations, objects that are seen (but not labeled as such, because these are thoughts). These exist all in me (as consciousness).
September 5 at 3:10pm · Like

Nick So then consciousness must be a real "thing" too? I'm just going by what you are saying. You=consciousness? Don't give what you think is right or wrong answer, just explain your understanding.
September 5 at 3:21pm · Like

Rogier Nope, it is not a real thing, but there must be something that makes it all possible (but this is a thought of the mind again). Consciousness = nothing
September 5 at 3:27pm · Like

Nick <<there must be something that makes it all possible>> so what makes breathing happen?
September 5 at 3:29pm · Like

Rogier Nothing, just happens
September 5 at 3:34pm · Like

Nick Cool.
Rogier, you've been interested in advaita/nonduality for awhile it seems. What was the final push, the thing that made seeing no-self happen?
September 5 at 3:37pm · Like

Rogier Well, there is not really a final push, but I think this question was a very important one: <<so what's the problem? is it wrong for there to be the APPEARANCE of a separate body? if an imaginary separate self appears AS PART OF the totality of life, does that diminish anything in any way?>> I realized that I was making my own problems and making it all so complicated.
September 5 at 4:46pm · Like

Nick do you have any questions for me? any doubts? are you satisfied?
September 5 at 4:56pm · Like

Rogier At the moment I am satisfied indeed. The clarity just came right on time, because I really need the time to finish my university hehe.... But after that I have enough time for these things again. One thing, I added you as a friend, because I was interested in who you are (but I can also understand that you do not accept it, as we do not know eachother), but do you have a website or something like that? For how long are you interested in Advaita?
September 5 at 5:06pm · Like

Nick Regarding the personal stuff, I'll PM you in a few minutes.
In the meantime, I'm going to share this conversation here with some other guides. We do this with every new member to "confirm" your understanding. It should take a day or two. I may come back back with some more questions. Talk to you soon.
September 5 at 5:30pm · Like

Rogier Ok Nick, excuse me if I will not answer those as fast as I used to do. As i have to focus myself on other things now. Thanks for all the pointers you provided me!
September 5 at 5:38pm via mobile · Like

Nick OK, thanks Rogier. Good luck with your thesis preparation!
September 5 at 5:42pm · Like

Nick Rogier, here's what I would like us to do - Please finish up your university work on your thesis. Let this no-self thingee sink in, see how your daily experiences are. No need to do anything or spend a lot of time thinking about it... just continue working, enjoy life flowing, and contemplate casually if you want. If you have any burning questions or insights, post them here, but lets just limit it to just one post per day until the thesis is done. When your work's all finished, come back here and let me know and we'll take a look at everything together.
September 6 at 3:03pm · Like

Rogier Allright, 15th of September I have to hand it in. I had troubles with getting into sleep yesterday.... Very hard to explain what happened but I had some sort of feelings of emptiness, being some sort of disconnected from my body.... Maybe it was some kind of dream or something, I normally have totally no troubles with getting into sleep. Maybe my body needed some time to process all the information or something like that, because I was thinking so much about it the last days.
September 6 at 3:42pm · Like

Rogier There is also a feeling of relaxation that there is no I the last days
September 6 at 3:44pm · Like

Nick cool. see you the 15th or 16th!
September 6 at 3:46pm · Like

Rogier It's so ridiculous, especially with the social anxiety thing I told you about, that is all about defending an I that even doesn't exist. See you the 15th or 16th and have a nice day :-).
September 6 at 3:48pm · Like

Rogier Hi Nick! "I" am still convinced that there is no I. But still there seems something in me that wants to have control. For example: I was waiting for my concept thesis to be commented on, and in the meanwhile I was very nervous.... Yes, I know I just have to let that happen, that it is part of the flow, that there is no I that has control over this, but still, why does this nervousness come, if there is total acception of the moment it is an irrational feeling. I think nervousness comes because there is an I that wants to have the present moment changed, instead of accepting it all..... there seems to be resistance.
September 13 at 2:00pm · Like

Nick There are feelings of nervousness. You are seeing these as a problem. Then, the fact that it's seen as a problem becomes the problem. Is that right? Well, just check whether this evaluation of these things as "a problem" is a truth, independent of thoughts. Or, alternatively, is it just thoughts? Then ask, is it a problem that there are nervous feelings? Is it a problem that this bothers me? Am I supposed to be a perfected being with no negative feelings? Is that realistic, or is that "enlightenment fantasy"?
September 13 at 2:28pm · Like

Nick in other words, you can argue with the present reality, but can you ever win that argument?
September 13 at 2:28pm · Like

Rogier Thanks for your answer :-). Yes, indeed they are labelled as a problem, just thoughts. They are just part of the game.
September 13 at 2:42pm · Like

Rogier I will drop my expectations about certain things, such as thinking that nervousness goes away when there is 'enlightenment', and just go with the flow. Something that is going better every day by the way :-).
September 13 at 2:44pm · Edited · Like

Nick cool. how's the thesis thing going btw?
September 13 at 3:03pm · Like

Rogier Good! Thanks! Handing it in monday! :)
September 13 at 3:07pm · Like

Nick ok cool give me update after that. Good luck!
September 13 at 3:09pm · Like

Rogier Hi Nick. I have thought about it and for sure 'I' know intellectualy that the self does not exist. Still it doesn't feel that way. If I have to describe it there is a SELF THOUGHT ...See More
September 18 at 10:08am · Like

Nick Thoughts exist but the things the thoughts refer to may be imaginary. Self thoughts are no problem as long as they are not BELIEVED to be true.

Try this exercise whenever thought...See More
September 18 at 10:21am · Like

Rogier Ok Nick, good tip, will do that! Thanks
September 18 at 10:26am · Like

Rogier Busy thinking today, as I have more time now. It still feels like there is a centre.... that my body is the centre, that the thoughts come from the brain. There is still doubt ther...See More
September 19 at 3:53pm · Like

Nick Check your expectations, Rogier! Are you hoping to magically disappear? Are you hoping that you will be in a state of unity 100% of the time? When this doubt appears, who or what does it appear to?
September 19 at 11:17pm · Like

Rogier No, the I can be there, but life is still so much controlled by that I, still there are fears that come from that illusionary I. Although the thoughts are not real, the things that...See More
September 21 at 9:06am · Edited · Like

Nick You said "the thoughts are not real but the things they lead to seem so real." investigate this, try flipping it around to the opposite. Thoughts are real things. They exist for a ...See More
September 21 at 9:14am · Like

Rogier No, you are right, I am sometimes mistaking that. The thought is real, but the thing it points to is not. The thought comes up about the I and that is what is being rejected, resistance to the thought.
Saturday at 9:05am · Like

Nick what is it that has the power to reject or accept a thought?
Saturday at 9:44am · Like

Rogier Nothing, it just happens, nobody in command, otherwise I would choose to accept them all.
Saturday at 9:56am · Like

Nick LOOK. No more need for thinking or analyzing. All these thoughts and feelings telling a story about ME. Is it true? Is there a REAL me in any way shape or form?
Saturday at 10:04am · Like

Rogier I think it is clear now :-). It really feels like things are changing.... It all happens, no me's pulling any strings in this body or others. There is only experiencing. The mind i...See More
Sunday at 11:08am · Like

Nick ok good, lets investigate the fear. LOOK at the fear, allow it to arise. Respect it- it's not "bad" it's just dong a job. Really ask the fear what it has to say and see: what is behind the fear? What is it's purpose?
Sunday at 11:50am · Like

Rogier I think it is a defensive meganism against doing stupid things, for example jumping before trains. Very useful.
Sunday at 12:49pm · Like

Nick Ok so you said <<There is still a feeling of being afraid to die (transition from I am to I am not?)>> does the fear come up when you consider that you don't exist? Is there fear that you will disappear? What is there TO disappear?
Sunday at 1:17pm · Like

Rogier Hmmm.... the fear does not come up when considering I do not exist. The fear is just that the experiences dissapear.
Sunday at 2:17pm · Like

Rogier But there is no anxiety to go into deep sleep, and the dead is unknown, so why should you be afraid of the unknown... But still there is a feeling of fear
Sunday at 2:20pm · Like

Rogier I have been thinking about this, because my father died 2 years ago. What was also a big cause of the depression that was experienced in the winter.
Sunday at 2:23pm · Edited · Like

Rogier I find this one really hard, maybe there is some sort of self that is afraid to die.
Sunday at 2:25pm · Like

Rogier But I can't find it
Sunday at 2:26pm · Like

Nick Don't back down. Look right at the fear. It's like there's a secret that doesn't want to be found out, and the fear is protecting it. But it's no secret, really. You don't exist. T...See More
Sunday at 2:45pm · Like · 2

Rogier I am still looking Nick, so my reply will take somewhat longer :-).
Yesterday at 9:01am · Like

Nick DO NOT WAIT... no need to think or ponder or wait for the "right answer" to appear. If you answer HONESTLY with what you see NOW, that's all. I will nudge you in the right direction. If we keep doing that, you keep answering and I'll keep pointing you the right way and you'll see it in no time! :)
Yesterday at 9:20am · Like

Nick What is behind the fear?! LOOK at it right now and DEMAND the answer!
Yesterday at 9:20am · Like

Rogier You have so much patience with me, haha, thanks :-). You know... thats the story of 'my' life.... always wanting to think and analyze. I just can't find it, now the fear isn't there even more, there is nothing!!!
Yesterday at 9:25am · Like

Rogier Only the thought what will happen when there is nothing there to experience, but there is nothing to find
Yesterday at 9:26am · Like

Nick Good, Rogier. The fear threatens you with scary thoughts and emotions, but when you really LOOK, it's an empty threat. It's like being scared of a horror film, it's not real so there's no danger. Just look and push through it.
Yesterday at 9:49am · Like · 1

Nick GREAT you are looking at no-self. Is there anything "doing" the looking?
Yesterday at 9:50am · Like

Rogier Nope, the looking just happens. No Rogier or other entity who is behind that. It all just happens.
Yesterday at 10:00am · Like

Nick do you exist?
Yesterday at 10:02am · Like

Rogier There is (was) a thought containing the assumption that the me exists and does everything, but that is just a thought labelling... There is no me that is controlling anything, the thought does not refer to anything real. It is just experiencing and no me experiencing.
Yesterday at 10:15am · Like

Nick RIGHT NOW is there any self in reality? Was there ever a self?
Yesterday at 11:34am · Like

Rogier At the moment of this typing there is no self, there is just typing. There have never been a self.
Yesterday at 12:00pm · Like

Nick how does it feel to see this? is there anything missing? is there any doubts?
Yesterday at 12:03pm · Like

Rogier It feels a little bit strange. Sometimes there are still fears popping up regarding the self, but if I look at them they seem to go away, just as the fear to die. At the moment there is nothing missing and no doubts this time :-)
Yesterday at 12:19pm · Like

Nick Please explain how the self operates, give some details. How does illusion of self begin? How does belief in it end?
Yesterday at 12:32pm · Like

Rogier The illusion of the self begins when the thinking of a person gets so advanced that he or she thinks he did something. Such as a young child calling for her mother, who comes every...See More
Yesterday at 12:53pm · Like

Nick How would you explain no-self to a friend who never heard of this before? Use simple language.
Yesterday at 1:12pm · Like

Rogier Well, when I have a visitor I would ask what he or she wants to drink... Coffee or tea? When this person chooses for one of the two I would point this person to the fact that this the choice is based on a thought. A thought that is based on different factors, and just comes up.
Yesterday at 5:02pm · Like

Nick was seeing an instantaneous "aha" moment for you, or more gradual? Can you describe it? What was the last bit that pushed you?
Yesterday at 6:07pm · Like

Rogier Gradual. You pointing to the fact that thoughts are real, but the thing they point to isn't real was a turning point. I was at that moment still sometimes confusing the thoughts no...See More
16 hours ago · Edited · Like

Nick 2 days ago you wrote: <<I have read earlier that some say that enlightenment does not exist, but isn't enlightenment just happening? Without happening to someone? >> What do you think now? What is the meaning of "gateless gate"? :)
14 hours ago · Like

Rogier Well, there is no one to get enlightened, so the enlightenment for a person does not exist. What can however happen is clarity about this illusion of the self, but this is not dire...See More
13 hours ago · Like

Nick Cool. I'm going to have some other guides check our conversation. I will get back to you later today or tomorrow. If you have anything else you want to write, feel free!
12 hours ago · Like

Rogier Sometimes the 'fear' comes up again that there are doubts again about the no-self thing. But if I think it trough these doubts are just doubts and there is really a no-self. Guess ...See More
12 hours ago · Like

Nick Do you feel something shifted? Or do you need more guiding? I notice this spontaneous gratitude youre expressing happens alot when seeing happens. What other kinds of emotions are happening?
12 hours ago · Like

Rogier Yes I have indeed the feeling something shifted. There is more relaxation instead of frustration and an illusionary self that is fighting against feelings. There is much more some sort of feeling of peace. At the moment there are no doubts.
12 hours ago

User avatar
Nick
Posts: 272
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:53 pm
Location: USA

Re: Rogier and Nick

Postby Nick » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:30 am

lets try that again without the "see more" sections, lol.....

Nick welcome Rogier, please introduce yourself. What brings you here?
August 29 at 12:20pm · Like

Rogier Hi,

Thank you for accepting my request to become a member of the group. I became interested in Advaita in the winter, when I was in a depression. I did not understand why people do certain things, such as the always striving for more achievement and I had my doubts about free will. Now it is going much better with me, but I seem to be still controlled by my thoughts, such as thinking about possible future 'disasters' (negative thoughts) that are focussed on my imagined self, which frustrates me. I have read quite a bit of books, and I think I can understand intellectually quite well that there is no seperate me, but I just seem to not be able to put it in practice, I seem to still differentiate between me and others. I hope someone can guide me in getting some insights.
August 29 at 2:01pm · Like

Nick Thanks for the into, Rogier. I will guide you. Please take a minute to write down some of your expectations. What do you want? What do you think will happen realistically? Any fears? And also, please explain to me what does "I" mean to you?
August 29 at 8:07pm · Like

Rogier Hello Nick, thank you for becoming my guide. My expectations are that I will understand who or what I am, I still seem to be too much focused on my body/mind system. I don't believe that I am a seperate entity, that I have free will, but still I am not accepting the flow of life. This has a link with my fears, I suffer some sort of social anxiety, especially when I do not feel so good and I am not so happy (It was also the worst when I felt depressed during the winter). Although many people see me as a very social person and I have many friends, I get nervous around (attractive) girls. I think I want to defend that imaginary I, that has to be the nice, cool guy. I only dare to speak with them when going out with friends, and when I drink alcohol, and then I feel totally comfortable. The same is the case with presentation anxiety. It is all the fear to become nervous, which causes that illusionary I to get hurt. The bizarre thing is that I know this thoughts are irrational, but there is no acceptation. I am still too much focused on the "outside" world, thinking too much about possible future events. What that I realistically means to me is that although I can understand that I am the whitness of everything, I still seem to think that I am this body.
August 30 at 6:16am · Edited · Like

Nick Rogier, thanks for your response, and for detailing your expectations. I am telling you that there is NO you at all, NO witness of everything. As in zero. There never was. What thoughts and feelings come up when you read this statement?
August 30 at 8:24am · Like

Rogier That is indeed exactly the thing I find hard to understand. But how can these things be whitnessed without a whitness? I seem to put some sort of invisible entity inside myself (the whitness) that whitnesses.
August 30 at 8:46am · Like

Rogier A new kind of ego
August 30 at 8:47am · Like

Rogier Especially hard to understand I find the following: I have certain feelings and thoughts you don't have. So isn't there still some sort of differentation between us? How can we be one?
August 30 at 8:54am · Like

Rogier After spending so much time into Advaita, being busy with it for months, so much thinking about it.... I think that also frustrates me Nick, still not understanding and getting that insight. Do you think that could be a problem, Nick? That greediness and not fully accepting the moment how it is now?
August 30 at 9:19am · Like

Nick You have expressed a ton of questions and issues here, Rogier. I am not here to answer or explain them all to you. Pick any Advaita teacher and I'm sure they have explained all of this stuff at length in their books and lectures. What I am offering to you is to guide your own inquiry with QUESTIONS. I will ask, you will answer, and I'll point you in the right direction to find the truth. It will take as long as it takes. I expect you to take a temporary break from reading books, watching videos, attending satsangs, etc. until we are done here. Does this all sound ok?
August 30 at 9:27am · Like

Nick the reason i say all this is because the way we do things at LU is sort of the opposite of a typical Advaita satsang. Here WE ask questions, and YOU answer, lol!
August 30 at 9:31am · Like

Rogier Alright Nick! Sorry! Sounds good to me! Please go on :-).
August 30 at 9:39am · Like

Nick You said that it still feels like there is a you as the body and as a witness. I am saying that this is imaginary, a story like Batman. Are you more real than Batman? How do you know?
August 30 at 9:50am · Like

Rogier I know I am more real than Batman because I really see these things, such as toughts and sensations in my body. I see the image of the world. This is wat makes it real and less imaginary than the story of batman.
August 30 at 10:00am · Like

Nick ok lets examine the thoughts. do you control them? can you choose what thoughts to have or not have? is there a thinker?
August 30 at 10:47am · Like

Rogier No, I do not control them, otherwise I would choose to be always happy or stop having negative thoughts. I feel like I have totally no control over these thoughts, and that they come and go, wether I want it or not. The same is the case with liking certain people, certain food etc. I see my body/brains as the thinker, creating these thoughts unconsciously.
August 30 at 11:07am · Like

Nick ok so when the thoughts "happen", WHERE do they occur? as in what location?
August 30 at 11:09am · Like

Rogier I know they occur in my brain, but when I close my eyes, i can't locate them. The only thing I know is that these thoughts occur in this body (brain) as a location.
August 30 at 11:17am · Edited · Like

Nick and how do you know that? do you sense a "boundary" where the skull is, or the skin, and all the thoughts are in there? i know this sounds dumb but check it out...
August 30 at 11:59am · Like

Rogier I can sense some sort of boundary.... Especially if I put something like a hat on, so I can feel my skin. The thoughts are close to me, instead of far away. But a exact location i can't specify.
August 30 at 1:10pm · Like

Nick Thoughts are happening. There are physical sensations of a head with a hat on. There's a visual experience as well. Check and see if all this info is being wrapped up into a story and a belief. Is there really a boundary in reality, or just a story about a boundary?
August 30 at 1:45pm · Like

Rogier I am indeed assuming a boundary, assuming that the physical sensations are the boundary. Together with the visual experience I am indeed seem to be making up this story...... If you look at it this way I don't think there is really a boundary that you can experience.
August 30 at 3:57pm · Like

Nick so... where do the thoughts really happen??
August 30 at 4:01pm · Like

Rogier I guess that is called Consciousness then, some sort of black hole.... based on experience you can't define where these thoughts happen... but you just know these thoughts are made up in the body (in the skull), because without a body these toughts would not arise, and you know your thoughts come from the brain, which is based on science. This is hard for me to understand.
August 30 at 4:58pm · Like

Nick <<based on experience you can't define where these thoughts happen>> that's a cool way of putting it! We can come back to this later in more detail... i liked what you were saying about making up a story in your previous post. "I"m doing this", "I'm thinking about that", "This is happening to ME"... etc. This I is like a label that tells stories... Can you find the I in reality, apart from the stories told by thought??
August 30 at 5:07pm · Like

Rogier What a good questions.... No, I can't find an I. In that sense there are only toughts and things that happen..... I am going to have a sleep over this now..... May I ask where you are from, Nick?
August 30 at 6:47pm · Like

Nick i'm in Cleveland, USA. GMT-5. How about you? Sleep well, please post more tomorrow! Describe to me more about how 'I' is a thought...
August 30 at 7:11pm · Like

Rogier GMT +1, Holland :-). Okay, I will. Thanks! Have a nice evening!
August 30 at 7:39pm via mobile · Like

Rogier I think it became al much more clear to me yesterday.... I indeed can't find an I. I said that toughts come up in my brain or body.... but you can also say they come up in this house or the world.... You can define your own border. I think they indeed just come up in Concsciousness, because that border is just a tought.
August 31 at 6:09am · Like

Nick Cool. Describe some more about how the I thought operates... does it come before an "intentional" action, or after?
August 31 at 8:21am · Like

Rogier Well...... You can think beforehand, I am going to do this or that, but this is a tought that comes up. I am thinking that I am the one doing it, but that action is caused by thoughts I do not think I have control of. The same is the case with other things I do more spontanously.
August 31 at 9:19am · Like

Nick ok, i see what you are saying: the supposed "intention" to do something is also just another thought. So now we agree that I or self is made up of thoughts only. Can a thought think? There is no doer but is there any experiencer "hearing" these thoughts?
August 31 at 9:26am · Like

Rogier No, a thought can not think, because both are the same thing. The experiencer question I find difficult....
August 31 at 9:30am · Like

Rogier We found out that there is no experiencer.....
August 31 at 9:31am · Like

Rogier The only thing I can say is that at your place there come up certain toughts, and at my place
August 31 at 9:39am · Edited · Like

Rogier I still find that the difficult part, that you have other thoughts than me, it gives me still some idea of seperation, altough it could be all consciousness
August 31 at 9:36am · Like

Nick well this idea that there is a "here" and "there" is also a belief made of thoughts, correct? Same with time. These are just stories. All is here and now... and right here and now the story is about Rogier, not about Nick or Batman. And, in the story, Rogier is a human who lives his life and his experiences. You are expecting Rogier to wake up and transform into an omniscient being, but it can't happen. Rogier can't wake up cos he doesn't exist except as imaginary character in a story.
August 31 at 9:57am · Like

Rogier Yes, the time thing I do understand, that these are toughts, there is only a now. But with location I find that difficult, if I look at somebody else you can observe that there is a here and there. Still some sort of seperation.... but I find it difficult to see trough this.....
August 31 at 10:23am · Like

Nick ok let's examine this "looking"... Is there a separation in reality between looker, looking, and objects looked at? When you're gazing around is there any barrier or boundary between "you" inside and "the world" outside? Is there a "center" inside your head or is this a story? Don't give a textbook advaita answer but check it out in reality and describe with your own words 100% honestly.
August 31 at 10:26am · Edited · Like

Rogier Ok... interesting..... Going to take a walk with the dog now... good moment to examine this, when I am back you will hear from me ;-).
August 31 at 10:28am · Unlike · 1

Rogier I can't find a seperation between objects, I label them with my thoughts. But still, altough I do not see a seperation, I am looking from a certain viewpoint towards to objects. From indeed some sort of center (my eyes) towards the outside.
August 31 at 11:47am · Like

Nick When you look at a scene, there is one image, a totality. You can pick apart individual object but like you said its just thoughts labeling, not real separate objects. So, where are YOU apart from the image?
August 31 at 11:57am · Edited · Like

Rogier Hmmm in that sense there is no me.....
August 31 at 12:05pm · Like

Rogier But just a thought that says I am looking from a point towards another point
August 31 at 12:06pm · Like

Rogier And I am not looking, but looking just happens
August 31 at 12:08pm · Like

Nick do you exist?
August 31 at 12:11pm · Like

Rogier No
August 31 at 12:29pm · Like

Rogier But still, I do not see it as a totality
August 31 at 12:31pm · Like

Rogier I think the feeling of the physical body looking towards other things is still very strong...
August 31 at 12:37pm · Like

Nick Would anything be different in reality whether the thoughts and feelings and stories of being a self are there or not?
August 31 at 1:06pm · Like

Rogier No, I do not think so, because I do not always have these thoughts and feelings of being a self.
August 31 at 1:14pm · Like

Rogier And still reality is the same
August 31 at 1:15pm · Like

Nick so what's the problem? is it wrong for there to be the APPEARANCE of a separate body? if an imaginary separate self appears AS PART OF the totality of life, does that diminish anything in any way?
August 31 at 1:33pm · Like

Rogier No, you are right
August 31 at 1:58pm · Like

Nick Don't just agree, use your own words, describe it. Is there a self in any way?
August 31 at 7:58pm · Like

Rogier Just came back from a night out.... 4 am here now... but I was thinking about this the last hours and I can't find a self. Maybe there is some sort of hidden self, just like the whitness in the beginning with your talk... but I cannot find it. An example of the way I see there is no self is that I have a beep in my ear since wednesday, when I came back from vacation and after partying every day...... Having totally no control about it... and getting a little bit annoyed about it, breaking the silence I could experience.... Totally no control in life... I did not choose to not use ear plugs and get this, it just happened. But still, I think there must be some hidden self I do not see at this moment. I do however have the feeling that we came much more near towards breaking that illusion of the self.
August 31 at 10:07pm · Like

Rogier I am going to sleep now Nick, hopefully we can talk more about it tommorrow, thanks again for all the pointers you provide me
August 31 at 10:09pm · Like

Rogier And I catch myself now about saying there is a beep in my ear.... but I know there is just a beep... there is no ear that is mine. That is just a thought.
September 1 at 9:45am · Edited · Like

Nick Rogier, the thoughts and feelings of self, what are they? Are they referring to something real, or just thoughts?
September 2 at 2:31pm · Like

Rogier These thoughts come and go, the thoughts in themselves are not real for sure.... All the thoughts that come up about the self are just beliefs.
September 2 at 4:31pm · Like

Rogier The thought that the self is everything, because borders are imaginative.... Can you call that another belief? The thought itself can't be real because it comes and goes.....
September 2 at 5:07pm via mobile · Like

Rogier That is the only thing that I can think of as the self... But that is a new conceptualization of the self, but you told me there is no self. Maybe I am overlooking something here?
September 2 at 5:15pm via mobile · Edited · Like

Nick There are no unicorns either. But there are thoughts about unicorns. Somebody could be confused and believe there are unicorns. But where are they?
September 2 at 10:26pm · Like · 1

Nick So now, looking at no-self... what is that is "doing" the looking? Is there anything??
September 2 at 10:26pm · Like

Rogier I can't find it.
September 3 at 9:58am · Like

Nick more...describe what's going on.
September 3 at 11:06am · Like

Rogier I do not believe there is a doer of any kind, and everything just happens. That there is no 'I' that has the control over life. Feelings and thoughts just come up and go. The great thing I have learned so far is that borders are imaginary.... that there was labelling in calling certain things the I. If I read it back, saying that my body/brain is needed for thoughts, I realize that not only a body is needed for the thoughts, but also the world, the whole universe. The I is a product of the mind. I do not think something is 'doing' the looking, but that it just happens.
September 3 at 11:51am · Like

Nick you said <<i do not believe there is a doer of any kind>> is this different from before? has anything changed in reality?
September 3 at 12:42pm · Like

Rogier Well, at first i thought that the I could be some sort of whitness.... That could choose to listen to certain thoughts. Now I know that there are just thoughts, and nothing more. I have the feeling I understand that in an intellectual way, but nothing changed in reality.
September 3 at 12:57pm · Like

Nick Let me rephrase... Is any you that has the thoughts and beliefs? Was there ever?
September 3 at 1:32pm · Like

Rogier Hmmmm.... This thoughts would not arise if this was a different body. This is confusing.... Although there is no I that chooses for these thoughts, this still feels as seperation, there is the me again that claims ownership.....
September 3 at 1:54pm · Like

Nick but different body is not what you mean by the word "self"... self/witness is a separate entity that experiences thoughts subjectively. Who cares what body appears, what thoughts appear or do not appear? The thoughts tell a story of this me that owns the thoughts, but can you find it as a real thing? Or just as a story?
September 3 at 2:11pm · Like

Rogier Nope, indeed these thoughts tell the story.... If the thoughts are excluded so little remains..... Then the only things that remain are seeing and sensing..... And no object and subjects....
September 3 at 4:23pm · Like

Nick what is the difference between Rogier and Batman? Are you more real?
September 4 at 8:16am · Like

Rogier No.... that Rogier are thoughts telling the story of Rogier. All assumptions and beliefs.
September 4 at 9:30am · Like

Rogier So in that sense there is no difference, besides that the Rogier story seems to be much more real :-).
September 4 at 9:30am · Like

Nick Have you made the self "go away"? Is this possible?
September 4 at 9:40am · Like

Rogier There is no I that lets the self go away, it just happens.... As the self is a thought, it comes up and goes away. There was never a 'real' self that is gone now..... In some situations this thought was even not there.
September 4 at 9:56am · Like

Nick What is it that sees and understands this? Is there some thing?
September 4 at 10:06am · Like

Rogier I can not find anything that sees and understands this. Tough one....
September 4 at 10:38am · Like

Nick well just describe whats happening... on Friday you wrote <<I am not looking, but looking just happens>> Is this still apparent? Does there need to be more? Is there any THING in life that does stuff like looking, feeling, thinking, etc?
September 4 at 10:43am · Like

Rogier Yes, it is still apparent that everthing just happens and there is no I that is reponsible for these things. Life is just flowing. The thing that 'I' still have problems with is indeed the THING in life that does stuff like looking, feeling, thinking etc. I understand now that the thoughts are coming from a TOTALITY, and that these borders are imagined. But still, the conviction that the brain is the thing in life that does these stuff is very strong.
September 4 at 12:52pm · Like

Rogier I also thought about other things that does the stuff, but there isn't anything more I can think about at this moment.
September 4 at 12:54pm · Like

Nick Yeah no borders, these are just ideas construed by thoughts, stories. Experience doesn't happen inside the brain. The brain is just a part of life.

I think you are expecting to find some "right answer", to come up with WHAT is this thing doing everything. Like a need to prove that you can achieve something, GET something... no need my friend.

Life flowing, no self in reality, that's it. This is the "gateless gate." So you tell me, can you cross a gateless gate? What will change in reality?
September 4 at 1:08pm · Like

Rogier Hmmm that it is called the gateless gate indeed makes much sense now.... Indeed I seem to have some of expectation that there is something to get: Some sort of big insight, some sort of special feeling. It still feels like I came much closer with our conversation, but that something is still away. But now, there is also understanding that life totally flows, and that it will be flowing, so nothing will change. There is a feeling of emptiness, of no control, something wants to still have that control.
September 4 at 1:26pm · Like

Nick its just part of the story, this need for control. it's not real, just another thought. How can it be possible to GET anything when there's noone that can HAVE anything? :)
September 4 at 1:28pm · Like

Rogier Hehe, thanks Nick. I need some time to think about this, as I am very busy this evening finishing a university project, but it seems logical (although it sounds SO simple).
September 4 at 2:01pm · Like

Nick Cool Rogier, good luck with the project. You come back when ready and let me know: what are your doubts and what's missing?
September 4 at 2:07pm · Like

Rogier Still I notice that anxieties come up (but less intense the last days), can these still come up if the ilusion of the self has been seen trough?
September 4 at 3:30pm · Like

Nick yeah thoughts feelings, anxiety, so what? But there's a difference between anxious thoughts and belief in BEING anxious...
September 4 at 3:33pm · Like

Rogier That makes sense :-)
September 4 at 3:37pm · Like

Nick feelings, thoughts, "sense of self" all this shit continues. Can you see through its illusion, see that it's just telling a story with no real YOU behind it all? It can't affect you because there is NO YOU to be affected, lol...
September 4 at 3:41pm · Like

Nick how does it feel right now?
September 4 at 3:42pm · Like

Rogier Strange, confusing, empty are the first three words that come up.
September 4 at 3:43pm · Like

Rogier But also logical and very simple.
September 4 at 3:43pm · Like

Nick can you explain the illusion of separate self to me? How does it start, how is it "seen thru"? Give me some details when you get a chance.
September 4 at 4:09pm · Like

Rogier Ok, Nick. I will do tommorrow!
September 4 at 4:45pm · Unlike · 1

Rogier The illusion of the seperate self are just thoughts, assumptions about an illusionary border within people call the I. It starts with thoughts telling that YOU are doing something, which is seen trough by realizing that these thoughts themselves are doing that something. These thoughts flow like a river, and no I that can do something about that. People are just like flowers, with the only difference they have a mind that think they are the ones doing the growing.
September 5 at 12:17pm · Like

Nick how does it feel to see this?
September 5 at 1:04pm · Like

Rogier Thoughts are telling that this seems so simple, as there are so many books about Advaita, and the illusion of the self. Why do so many books tell about this illusion of the self so complicated? But on the other side it is very clear, there is a feeling of gratification and emptiness.... Many thoughts about this self stopped now, which is good since I have only 9 days left to finish my master thesis on the university, and all that thinking took many time ;)
September 5 at 1:28pm · Edited · Like

Nick ha!
September 5 at 1:31pm · Like

Nick how would you explain this stuff to a friend who has never heard of it before?
September 5 at 1:31pm · Like

Rogier Explain that there is not an I that creates the thoughts, but the receiver of thoughts. Telling him to try not to think about things for one minute. That these thoughts are responsible for his behavior, and not the I. They just come up and go, flowing like a river.
September 5 at 2:52pm · Like

Rogier And that all the thoughts are imaginary and not real, such as thoughts about borders, all created by the mind
September 5 at 2:53pm · Like

Nick you said <<there is not an I that creates the thoughts, but the receiver of thoughts>> Please explain this more.
September 5 at 2:55pm · Like

Rogier Already expected that you would go further with that ;)... well, there is no receiver, thoughts just happen. That's it.
September 5 at 3:00pm · Like

Nick <<all the thoughts are imaginary and not real>> I think I get what you are saying here... the thoughts about self are real, they exist as thoughts like a thought about a unicorn, but there's no REAL unicorn or self. Is that right?
September 5 at 3:04pm · Like

Rogier Yes. So the things that can be defined as real are: Thoughts, feelings such as a cut in the finger, sensations, objects that are seen (but not labeled as such, because these are thoughts). These exist all in me (as consciousness).
September 5 at 3:10pm · Like

Nick So then consciousness must be a real "thing" too? I'm just going by what you are saying. You=consciousness? Don't give what you think is right or wrong answer, just explain your understanding.
September 5 at 3:21pm · Like

Rogier Nope, it is not a real thing, but there must be something that makes it all possible (but this is a thought of the mind again). Consciousness = nothing
September 5 at 3:27pm · Like

Nick <<there must be something that makes it all possible>> so what makes breathing happen?
September 5 at 3:29pm · Like

Rogier Nothing, just happens
September 5 at 3:34pm · Like

Nick Cool.
Rogier, you've been interested in advaita/nonduality for awhile it seems. What was the final push, the thing that made seeing no-self happen?
September 5 at 3:37pm · Like

Rogier Well, there is not really a final push, but I think this question was a very important one: <<so what's the problem? is it wrong for there to be the APPEARANCE of a separate body? if an imaginary separate self appears AS PART OF the totality of life, does that diminish anything in any way?>> I realized that I was making my own problems and making it all so complicated.
September 5 at 4:46pm · Like

Nick do you have any questions for me? any doubts? are you satisfied?
September 5 at 4:56pm · Like

Rogier At the moment I am satisfied indeed. The clarity just came right on time, because I really need the time to finish my university hehe.... But after that I have enough time for these things again. One thing, I added you as a friend, because I was interested in who you are (but I can also understand that you do not accept it, as we do not know eachother), but do you have a website or something like that? For how long are you interested in Advaita?
September 5 at 5:06pm · Like

Nick Regarding the personal stuff, I'll PM you in a few minutes.
In the meantime, I'm going to share this conversation here with some other guides. We do this with every new member to "confirm" your understanding. It should take a day or two. I may come back back with some more questions. Talk to you soon.
September 5 at 5:30pm · Like

Rogier Ok Nick, excuse me if I will not answer those as fast as I used to do. As i have to focus myself on other things now. Thanks for all the pointers you provided me!
September 5 at 5:38pm via mobile · Like

Nick OK, thanks Rogier. Good luck with your thesis preparation!
September 5 at 5:42pm · Like

Nick Rogier, here's what I would like us to do - Please finish up your university work on your thesis. Let this no-self thingee sink in, see how your daily experiences are. No need to do anything or spend a lot of time thinking about it... just continue working, enjoy life flowing, and contemplate casually if you want. If you have any burning questions or insights, post them here, but lets just limit it to just one post per day until the thesis is done. When your work's all finished, come back here and let me know and we'll take a look at everything together.
September 6 at 3:03pm · Like

Rogier Allright, 15th of September I have to hand it in. I had troubles with getting into sleep yesterday.... Very hard to explain what happened but I had some sort of feelings of emptiness, being some sort of disconnected from my body.... Maybe it was some kind of dream or something, I normally have totally no troubles with getting into sleep. Maybe my body needed some time to process all the information or something like that, because I was thinking so much about it the last days.
September 6 at 3:42pm · Like

Rogier There is also a feeling of relaxation that there is no I the last days
September 6 at 3:44pm · Like

Nick cool. see you the 15th or 16th!
September 6 at 3:46pm · Like

Rogier It's so ridiculous, especially with the social anxiety thing I told you about, that is all about defending an I that even doesn't exist. See you the 15th or 16th and have a nice day :-).
September 6 at 3:48pm · Like

Rogier Hi Nick! "I" am still convinced that there is no I. But still there seems something in me that wants to have control. For example: I was waiting for my concept thesis to be commented on, and in the meanwhile I was very nervous.... Yes, I know I just have to let that happen, that it is part of the flow, that there is no I that has control over this, but still, why does this nervousness come, if there is total acception of the moment it is an irrational feeling. I think nervousness comes because there is an I that wants to have the present moment changed, instead of accepting it all..... there seems to be resistance.
September 13 at 2:00pm · Like

Nick There are feelings of nervousness. You are seeing these as a problem. Then, the fact that it's seen as a problem becomes the problem. Is that right? Well, just check whether this evaluation of these things as "a problem" is a truth, independent of thoughts. Or, alternatively, is it just thoughts? Then ask, is it a problem that there are nervous feelings? Is it a problem that this bothers me? Am I supposed to be a perfected being with no negative feelings? Is that realistic, or is that "enlightenment fantasy"?
September 13 at 2:28pm · Like

Nick in other words, you can argue with the present reality, but can you ever win that argument?
September 13 at 2:28pm · Like

Rogier Thanks for your answer :-). Yes, indeed they are labelled as a problem, just thoughts. They are just part of the game.
September 13 at 2:42pm · Like

Rogier I will drop my expectations about certain things, such as thinking that nervousness goes away when there is 'enlightenment', and just go with the flow. Something that is going better every day by the way :-).
September 13 at 2:44pm · Edited · Like

Nick cool. how's the thesis thing going btw?
September 13 at 3:03pm · Like

Rogier Good! Thanks! Handing it in monday! :)
September 13 at 3:07pm · Like

Nick ok cool give me update after that. Good luck!
September 13 at 3:09pm · Like

Rogier Hi Nick. I have thought about it and for sure 'I' know intellectualy that the self does not exist. Still it doesn't feel that way. If I have to describe it there is a SELF THOUGHT that is fighting against other toughts. There still is frustration with getting certain toughts, such as when 'I' am getting nervous when I do not want this. There is resistance. There is an I that wants to change the things that happen, that wants to change future events. I feel frustrated with getting certain thoughts, as there is no control about them and it feels so powerless.
September 18 at 10:08am · Like

Nick Thoughts exist but the things the thoughts refer to may be imaginary. Self thoughts are no problem as long as they are not BELIEVED to be true.

Try this exercise whenever thoughts of self are bothersome or seem real: Choose an "anchor" in reality. Something tangible and solid like your keyboard, phone, chair, or something like that. Notice whenever there is an 'I' thought or feeling, hold onto it and examine it for a minute. Put it into words so that you can capture it. Then compare the captured 'I' thought to the anchor. See the difference.

You can expand this exercise beyond thoughts when you're ready. Notice sense experiences, emotions, actions, events. Whenever there is an 'I' component, just mentally capture it and compare it to your anchor. :)
September 18 at 10:21am · Like

Rogier Ok Nick, good tip, will do that! Thanks
September 18 at 10:26am · Like

Rogier Busy thinking today, as I have more time now. It still feels like there is a centre.... that my body is the centre, that the thoughts come from the brain. There is still doubt there that gives me a feeling of identification. Although I am 100% sure there is no Rogier doing anything and that it just all happens. It still feels like some sort of me having no control at all, which is still giving frustration.
September 19 at 3:53pm · Like

Nick Check your expectations, Rogier! Are you hoping to magically disappear? Are you hoping that you will be in a state of unity 100% of the time? When this doubt appears, who or what does it appear to?
September 19 at 11:17pm · Like

Rogier No, the I can be there, but life is still so much controlled by that I, still there are fears that come from that illusionary I. Although the thoughts are not real, the things that they lead to seem so real, they still control what happens in real life. How 'I' behave. That is what giving the frustrations. Why can't I just say to myself: You are just thoughts, not real.
The doubts appear to no one. It feels like there is a resistence to the flow of life, something that just wont accept it. it feels like there is still a ME there that is resisting it, but I KNOW that me is not doing that, because then I would CHOOSE to not let the resistance happen. But why is there is much resistence then?!
September 21 at 9:06am · Edited · Like

Nick You said "the thoughts are not real but the things they lead to seem so real." investigate this, try flipping it around to the opposite. Thoughts are real things. They exist for a moment and there is direct awareness of them. Think of a banana. THERE. the thought was real. A banana is also real. Now think of I. THERE. the thought was real. But what about the thing the thought points to?
September 21 at 9:14am · Like

Rogier No, you are right, I am sometimes mistaking that. The thought is real, but the thing it points to is not. The thought comes up about the I and that is what is being rejected, resistance to the thought.
Saturday at 9:05am · Like

Nick what is it that has the power to reject or accept a thought?
Saturday at 9:44am · Like

Rogier Nothing, it just happens, nobody in command, otherwise I would choose to accept them all.
Saturday at 9:56am · Like

Nick LOOK. No more need for thinking or analyzing. All these thoughts and feelings telling a story about ME. Is it true? Is there a REAL me in any way shape or form?
Saturday at 10:04am · Like

Rogier I think it is clear now :-). It really feels like things are changing.... It all happens, no me's pulling any strings in this body or others. There is only experiencing. The mind is just labelling everything.
Instead of myself I was searching for me's at other people today, the things they do just happen. These people are all conditioned thinking that they are the ones pulling the strings, but that is something that is really not the case. The things they do are based on their thoughts that come and go.
I heard a bird tjilping (is this a good translation? ;)), but that bird was not tjilping, there was just tjilping. People are learned that the bird is doing that, but it just happens!
But I still have two questions for you Nick:
I have read earlier that some say that enlightenment does not exist, but isn't enlightenment just happening? Without happening to someone?
Second question: There is still a feeling of being afraid to die (transition from I am to I am not?), so that means there is still some person that is afraid for this, otherwise this would not happen? This is the only thing I still find some sort of me.
Sunday at 11:08am · Like

Nick ok good, lets investigate the fear. LOOK at the fear, allow it to arise. Respect it- it's not "bad" it's just dong a job. Really ask the fear what it has to say and see: what is behind the fear? What is it's purpose?
Sunday at 11:50am · Like

Rogier I think it is a defensive meganism against doing stupid things, for example jumping before trains. Very useful.
Sunday at 12:49pm · Like

Nick Ok so you said <<There is still a feeling of being afraid to die (transition from I am to I am not?)>> does the fear come up when you consider that you don't exist? Is there fear that you will disappear? What is there TO disappear?
Sunday at 1:17pm · Like

Rogier Hmmm.... the fear does not come up when considering I do not exist. The fear is just that the experiences dissapear.
Sunday at 2:17pm · Like

Rogier But there is no anxiety to go into deep sleep, and the dead is unknown, so why should you be afraid of the unknown... But still there is a feeling of fear
Sunday at 2:20pm · Like

Rogier I have been thinking about this, because my father died 2 years ago. What was also a big cause of the depression that was experienced in the winter.
Sunday at 2:23pm · Edited · Like

Rogier I find this one really hard, maybe there is some sort of self that is afraid to die.
Sunday at 2:25pm · Like

Rogier But I can't find it
Sunday at 2:26pm · Like

Nick Don't back down. Look right at the fear. It's like there's a secret that doesn't want to be found out, and the fear is protecting it. But it's no secret, really. You don't exist. The mind knows it, but the heart is still afraid. So welcome the fear, thank it for doing its job, and LOOK right through it. SEE that there is no "you" that needs to be protected. You already don't exist, so there is nothing that will die or disappear. LOOK with courage and a smile :)
Sunday at 2:45pm · Like · 2

Rogier I am still looking Nick, so my reply will take somewhat longer :-).
Yesterday at 9:01am · Like

Nick DO NOT WAIT... no need to think or ponder or wait for the "right answer" to appear. If you answer HONESTLY with what you see NOW, that's all. I will nudge you in the right direction. If we keep doing that, you keep answering and I'll keep pointing you the right way and you'll see it in no time! :)
Yesterday at 9:20am · Like

Nick What is behind the fear?! LOOK at it right now and DEMAND the answer!
Yesterday at 9:20am · Like

Rogier You have so much patience with me, haha, thanks :-). You know... thats the story of 'my' life.... always wanting to think and analyze. I just can't find it, now the fear isn't there even more, there is nothing!!!
Yesterday at 9:25am · Like

Rogier Only the thought what will happen when there is nothing there to experience, but there is nothing to find
Yesterday at 9:26am · Like

Nick Good, Rogier. The fear threatens you with scary thoughts and emotions, but when you really LOOK, it's an empty threat. It's like being scared of a horror film, it's not real so there's no danger. Just look and push through it.
Yesterday at 9:49am · Like · 1

Nick GREAT you are looking at no-self. Is there anything "doing" the looking?
Yesterday at 9:50am · Like

Rogier Nope, the looking just happens. No Rogier or other entity who is behind that. It all just happens.
Yesterday at 10:00am · Like

Nick do you exist?
Yesterday at 10:02am · Like

Rogier There is (was) a thought containing the assumption that the me exists and does everything, but that is just a thought labelling... There is no me that is controlling anything, the thought does not refer to anything real. It is just experiencing and no me experiencing.
Yesterday at 10:15am · Like

Nick RIGHT NOW is there any self in reality? Was there ever a self?
Yesterday at 11:34am · Like

Rogier At the moment of this typing there is no self, there is just typing. There have never been a self.
Yesterday at 12:00pm · Like

Nick how does it feel to see this? is there anything missing? is there any doubts?
Yesterday at 12:03pm · Like

Rogier It feels a little bit strange. Sometimes there are still fears popping up regarding the self, but if I look at them they seem to go away, just as the fear to die. At the moment there is nothing missing and no doubts this time :-)
Yesterday at 12:19pm · Like

Nick Please explain how the self operates, give some details. How does illusion of self begin? How does belief in it end?
Yesterday at 12:32pm · Like

Rogier The illusion of the self begins when the thinking of a person gets so advanced that he or she thinks he did something. Such as a young child calling for her mother, who comes every time the child does this and sees x leading to y. The self does not exist for a one year old baby. The belief in it ends when it is seen that there is no self operating in a body, but that the things just happen. It is however a useful thing for society to develop as it leads people to wanting to achieve things for this self, but also creates unnecessary unhappiness.
Yesterday at 12:53pm · Like

Nick How would you explain no-self to a friend who never heard of this before? Use simple language.
Yesterday at 1:12pm · Like

Rogier Well, when I have a visitor I would ask what he or she wants to drink... Coffee or tea? When this person chooses for one of the two I would point this person to the fact that this the choice is based on a thought. A thought that is based on different factors, and just comes up.
Yesterday at 5:02pm · Like

Nick was seeing an instantaneous "aha" moment for you, or more gradual? Can you describe it? What was the last bit that pushed you?
Yesterday at 6:07pm · Like

Rogier Gradual. You pointing to the fact that thoughts are real, but the thing they point to isn't real was a turning point. I was at that moment still sometimes confusing the thoughts not to be real, but they really are. You pointing to the fact that these real thoughts can lead to real feelings made it all much more clear. It feels like there is now more acceptation of these thoughts, as they are all also part of the flow of life. It will be interesting to see how some of these thoughts will develop as they are pointing to this non-existent self. At first there was the expectation that these thoughts would instantly disappear, but now there is more a feeling of relaxation to see how these will develop in the future as the illusion of the self has been seen trough. So it also really helped me that you said that I should look at my expectations.
17 hours ago · Edited · Like

Nick 2 days ago you wrote: <<I have read earlier that some say that enlightenment does not exist, but isn't enlightenment just happening? Without happening to someone? >> What do you think now? What is the meaning of "gateless gate"? :)
14 hours ago · Like

Rogier Well, there is no one to get enlightened, so the enlightenment for a person does not exist. What can however happen is clarity about this illusion of the self, but this is not directed by a person. I think it is called the gateless gate because there is no person to go trough this gate. Nothing will change, and life will just go on as it was.
13 hours ago · Like

Nick Cool. I'm going to have some other guides check our conversation. I will get back to you later today or tomorrow. If you have anything else you want to write, feel free!
13 hours ago · Like

Rogier Sometimes the 'fear' comes up again that there are doubts again about the no-self thing. But if I think it trough these doubts are just doubts and there is really a no-self. Guess it needs some time? Thanks for your guiding Nick, you are a very good guide and I am grateful that you did this without asking anything back. Also thanks to Ilona and Elena for this great initiative.
13 hours ago · Like

Nick Do you feel something shifted? Or do you need more guiding? I notice this spontaneous gratitude youre expressing happens alot when seeing happens. What other kinds of emotions are happening?
13 hours ago · Like

Rogier Yes I have indeed the feeling something shifted. There is more relaxation instead of frustration and an illusionary self that is fighting against feelings. There is much more some sort of feeling of peace. At the moment there are no doubts.
13 hours ago · Like

Nick Rogier, thanks so much for your patience. You are now a confirmed LU member :)
25 minutes ago · Like

Nick I am adding you to 3 of our private groups. I'll intro you in a separate thread.
24 minutes ago


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