Where's that gate?

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jbardo
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Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Mon May 01, 2017 2:25 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I have been contemplating and inquiring into the nature of (no-) self for decades. I have had glimpses of what seems to be "no-self," although not in a lasting way - sort of like moments of lucidity that become occluded - clear sky, then the clouds (of thought, emotion, and their underlying patterns) come back.

What are you looking for at LU?
I very much want (but also fear) to see the truth - the truth of who I am, what "this" is all about. I have been dancing around this for my entire (adult) life, and it seems high time to really get "serious" (although that sounds kind of silly, just saying that). I simply want to see, to know. I feel ready, but not ready - like I've always been ready, but also never will be ready. So...why not now? To put it another way: I yearn for the truth - of who I am (or am not!). It's like there's this door that I've avoiding, dancing around, avoiding my entire life, or at least as long as I can remember - but it is right there, next to me. I am not even sure how to get "in," or where it goes. I mean, I have a sense - but I guess I am not sure if what I "glimpsed" is "it," or if it is a fabricated version of "it," if that makes sense. I just want to stop guessing, pretending, glimpsing... I want to really know.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I'm hoping to get that push through that door, or at least help me open it. I feel like I've up-turned every stone, yet here I still am - so want to see what I'm missing. I feel like I've been "standing on the verge of getting it on," to quote Funkadelic, but something is...missing, or I'm missing something. I'm hoping you can help with that.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've been seeking/inquiring since a teenager (I am in my 40s now). I have read many books, studied, contemplated, inquired, done some meditation (although rarely with consistency). I am a bit of a dabbler, but haven't committed to a single, formal path - except my own, ongoing inquiry.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?:
11

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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Wed May 03, 2017 2:56 am

Hi Jbardo,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed :). Thank you very much for writing and sharing where you are and what you're looking for.

My name is Robyn, and I can be your guide if that's okay with you.
I have had glimpses of what seems to be "no-self," although not in a lasting way - sort of like moments of lucidity that become occluded - clear sky, then the clouds (of thought, emotion, and their underlying patterns) come back.
I will do my best to guide you to see that the “self” is no more real than Santa Claus. Although you may see a guy in a Santa suit, you never again believe it’s Santa Claus.
I very much want (but also fear) to see the truth - the truth of who I am, what "this" is all about. I have been dancing around this for my entire (adult) life
It’s not unusual to have some fear - it’s ok.
I’m hoping to get that push through that door, or at least help me open it.
I will point the direction and you will be doing the work.

A few things before proceeding:
-Here's a link that shows how to use the quote function: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ[/
-Please try to keep up posting every day if you can for the sake of momentum; however, things come up of course and that's okay. Just let me know when you're unable to respond and I will do the same for you.
-Think of this as writing in a journal. Feel free to be 100% honest and just write what's true for you. It's generally helpful to put aside teachings, books, and videos for the time being so you can be more available to focus on your own experience. That's where we'll look.

If you're okay with everything so far, we can start.

Warmly,

Robyn
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Wed May 03, 2017 4:54 am

What does everyone have against Santa Claus around here? ;-) Just kidding. Thank you for your time, Robyn. I am good with everything you mention and am ready to proceed. "100% honesty" seems like a tall order because it implies 100% certainty, but I will do my best to at least be 100% honest about my uncertainty!

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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Thu May 04, 2017 3:14 am

Hi, Jbardo,

We are all set. It's my pleasure to guide you.

Is there another name you prefer for me to call you or shall I continue with Jbardo?
I have had glimpses of what seems to be "no-self," although not in a lasting way - sort of like moments of lucidity that become occluded - clear sky, then the clouds (of thought, emotion, and their underlying patterns) come back.

I very much want (but also fear) to see the truth - the truth of who I am, what "this" is all about. I have been dancing around this for my entire (adult) life, and it seems high time to really get "serious" (although that sounds kind of silly, just saying that). I simply want to see, to know. I feel ready, but not ready - like I've always been ready, but also never will be ready. So...why not now? To put it another way: I yearn for the truth - of who I am (or am not!). It's like there's this door that I've avoiding, dancing around, avoiding my entire life, or at least as long as I can remember - but it is right there, next to me. I am not even sure how to get "in," or where it goes. I mean, I have a sense - but I guess I am not sure if what I "glimpsed" is "it," or if it is a fabricated version of "it," if that makes sense. I just want to stop guessing, pretending, glimpsing... I want to really know.
Jabardo, what do you expect to happen as a result of this? What do you want to not happen? What are you hoping for? Please make a list of all the things that should be different when you realize there’s no separate self.

I look forward to your reply.

Warmly,

Robyn

p.s. No beef with Santa~ dude just fails to exist. ;=)
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Thu May 04, 2017 9:35 am

Is there another name you prefer for me to call you or shall I continue with Jbardo?
My name is Jonathan. That works for me!
Jabardo, what do you expect to happen as a result of this? What do you want to not happen? What are you hoping for? Please make a list of all the things that should be different when you realize there’s no separate self.
I feel that there are any number of ways I could respond to this, but none would be absolutely, 100% true - just all partial truths. For instance, on one hand I have no specific expectations. I've been thinking about this for decades, and have come to a place of a kind of confused resignation - I just don't know what to expect, what "it" is, whether what I've experienced are authentic glimpses or not, etc. So for the most part, I just don't know...I just know that I want to know (even if I also fear what "knowing" entails). On the other hand, perhaps like all long-time "spiritual seekers," I have a fantasy about "enlightenment" (by whatever name you want to call it), what I think it is and want it to be. This has changed over time, from when I first encountered the idea in my teens to now, at 43. Without getting into every step along the way, the general trajectory has been one of basic maturation -- from adolescent visions of grandeur, of becoming some kind of omniscient spiritual superhero with adoring disciples (especially beautiful female ones), to something quite a bit more humble and modest: suffering and struggling less, being more open and loving and flowing with life.

I guess when it comes down to it, I hope for a kind of deep release and sense of freedom and well-being. I walk around with a feeling of contraction in my heart, a subtle but pervasive sense of tension in my bodymind, and a feeling of not being fully engaged with the life process. There is also a deep desire for the truth. I am tired of having a general sense, perhaps largely intellectual, of what "it" is about, but without a deep realization. I am also frustrated by the fact that while I feel like I've had glimpses into "no-self," it hasn't "stuck." I suspect that this is because my realization wasn't deep or full enough, and/or that whatever I glimpsed was a kind of subtle "state" rather than a true realization of what is. For the most part, whenever I've had those glimpses it has felt more like a sense of expansion and a peaking into a more spacious awareness, but not a dissolution of the self-construct.

Or to use the Santa analogy, I get that he's probably not real, but I'm not sure and feel confused. My overall experience is of deep doubt and unknowing.

Anyhow, as far as what I do not want to happen, I suppose my biggest fear is not existing, or losing myself - those part of my individually that I cherish and love. I realize the irony of this fear, as I already (allegedly) don't exist, so why would these things cease to exist when they're not even based upon the self to begin with? On a more practical sense, one of my lingering fears about liberation is that it will effect my ability to be a father (I have two daughters). I know, intellectually at least, that it may actually deepen my capacity to be present with them, and that a realization of no-self isn't a kind of emotional castration, but I still worry about any possible negative effect for them.

As far as your request for a list, it feels like an awkward question because it implies that I have certain demands of this realization, like I'm shopping for a car and I want very specific functions! ;). But I want to give this my all, so I'll give it a shot, in no particular order:

*I hope that the sense of contraction in my heart, and all that it entails, will dissolve or at least greatly lessen
*I hope to feel a sense of levity about life, and not get bogged down or lost in "the drama of me"
*I hope to be more present with life, with myself, and those around me
*I hope that I am freed up to more fully actualize my deeper potentials as an individual bodymind organism
*I hope to be more deeply immersed in a sense of the mystery and wonder of life
*I hope to suffer less (although I am very aware of the difference between "suffering" and "pain," and I realize that pain is simply a necessary part of being a bodymind organism. But through my study and work in the Buddhist tradition, I see suffering as a result of resistance to pain, so I am hoping to dissolve that resistance)
*I hope also that I will generally be less impacted by non-essential stuff, stuff that feels like a waste of time - dramas, petty suffering, even deeper heartache

I realize that some, or even most of these things may have little or even nothing to do with the liberation that you're pointing at, or at least aren't likely to be direct "perks," so to speak. I honestly don't know, although I'm guessing that all of the above will at least be "loosened up" a bit. But I don't want to be attached to any of it.

I apologize for my verbosity! I tend to lack a sense of linguistic brevity ;). I feel like I could go on and on, but I'll leave it there and await your response.

Best regards,
Jonathan

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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Fri May 05, 2017 1:10 am

Hi, Jonathan,

That is a very nice name.

I enjoyed the thoroughness of what you shared with me. You painted a very clear picture.
suffering and struggling less, being more open and loving and flowing with life.

I guess when it comes down to it, I hope for a kind of deep release and sense of freedom and well-being.

*I hope that the sense of contraction in my heart, and all that it entails, will dissolve or at least greatly lessen
*I hope to feel a sense of levity about life, and not get bogged down or lost in "the drama of me"
*I hope to be more present with life, with myself, and those around me
*I hope that I am freed up to more fully actualize my deeper potentials as an individual bodymind organism
*I hope to be more deeply immersed in a sense of the mystery and wonder of life
*I hope to suffer less (although I am very aware of the difference between "suffering" and "pain," and I realize that pain is simply a necessary part of being a bodymind organism. But through my study and work in the Buddhist tradition, I see suffering as a result of resistance to pain, so I am hoping to dissolve that resistance)
*I hope also that I will generally be less impacted by non-essential stuff, stuff that feels like a waste of time - dramas, petty suffering, even deeper heartache
It is good to express the hopes and expectations in order to take them out of the “background” and bring them to the “foreground.” Now, I ask you to set aside your expectations and be open to however it goes.

The point here is to get at the truth and do it experientially, so that it is undeniable. If and when that happens, you will know the truth of “no self” and it will be obvious that it is reality.

Jonathan, I will address your fear; there is nothing to lose here. You will still have everything you had before.
But I don't want to be attached to any of it.
It’s good that you don’t want to be attached to it.
I apologize for my verbosity!
From this point forward, all I ask is that you answer from just your experience, not from anything you have learned from others — focusing on your experience alone. This is your process and I'm here to support you, but the work is yours. So feel free to write as much as you want.

From what you’ve written, I see that you have already considered that there is no separate self, none whatsoever.

If you look for the I, what is there? Can you describe what you find?

Warmly,

Robyn
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Fri May 05, 2017 2:20 am

Thank you for your reply, Robyn.
It is good to express the hopes and expectations in order to take them out of the “background” and bring them to the “foreground.” Now, I ask you to set aside your expectations and be open to however it goes.
I will try!
The point here is to get at the truth and do it experientially, so that it is undeniable. If and when that happens, you will know the truth of “no self” and it will be obvious that it is reality.

Jonathan, I will address your fear; there is nothing to lose here. You will still have everything you had before.
I hear you and it makes sense to me, but I'm guessing that until I have more certainty in the experience, the fear will linger. I am not a person that is able to believe anything I'm told without experiencing it for myself, for better or worse. But I do appreciate your words.
From this point forward, all I ask is that you answer from just your experience, not from anything you have learned from others — focusing on your experience alone. This is your process and I'm here to support you, but the work is yours. So feel free to write as much as you want.

From what you’ve written, I see that you have already considered that there is no separate self, none whatsoever.

If you look for the I, what is there? Can you describe what you find?
I have looked for the I many times over the years, and have generally come to the same place, but will try to push that aside and approach it freshly and speak from first hand investigation rather than any thoughts or beliefs that have arisen over the years. Let's go...

When I look for the I right now, I find nothing solid. There is the thought, "I," that floats into awareness and there is a vague sense of "me-ness" that I can't locate as anything specific or solid, but still seems there, or at least that I associate with myself.

I feel a general sense of "me-ness" behind my eyes that feels like a soft pressure in my forehead, even like a numb gently pushing out from within, and in my body, particularly my heart where, as I mentioned, there is a sense of physical-emotional contraction that varies from quite strong to barely noticeable. I also realize these aren't necessarily "I," but just sensations in awareness.

I see that the word "I" is just that, a word - a thought that arises. Yet it still feels that "I" is more than just the thought. Yes, there is no-thing there, but there is a kind of feeling of "ness." Not quite something-ness, nor quite no-thing-ness, just ness that feels like "I," or what I associate as I.

(I'm going to breath for a few minutes, with eyes closed, and look again)

OK. There is clarity, sounds - the AC unit in my office, voices from my colleagues in the next room over, and rustle of wind in the palm trees outside my window. There is the sensations in my body, some vague thoughts in awareness. I see the objects in my office, chairs, desk, the couch I'm sitting on, tissue box, coffee cup, Hydro Flask, a few apple bananas, etc. But there is nothing but stuff happening - physical, sensory, twinges of emotion, passing thoughts -- I can't locate any I, or any I as a thing or object, other than the thought itself. There is just...stuff.

That said, I sense a kind of "I flavor" that I associate with myself, with "my" experience. It is kind of like when you're sitting out in the sun and you can smell the sun on your skin. It isn't anything physical or sensory, not an actual smell, but it is there - a kind of quality of experience that I associate with me. But it is not anything specific or solid. All things, forms, objects, thoughts, emotions are just passing through awareness.

I just had a twinge of something...that maybe the flavor or me-ness is a kind of habitual association, but isn't really there. There is an association, but I'm not sure if it is just that, or something actually tangible. It almost feels what I imagine phantom pain to feel like. I try to pin-point this association, to really see it, but it feels slippery, like an eel escaping me.

I have to stop now and pick up my daughters, but will revisit this feeling later and write more if anything new arises.

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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Sat May 06, 2017 5:28 am

Jonathan,

Thanks for your reply. I read it all. I'll reply fully either in the wee hours or tomorrow.

Warmest,

Robyn
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Sun May 07, 2017 5:44 am

Hi, Jonathan,

I apologize for taking to so long getting back to you. I've been unusually busy.
I will try.
Great. Just notice if they come up.
I hear you and it makes sense to me, but I'm guessing that until I have more certainty in the experience, the fear will linger.
Maybe but why speculate?
I am not a person that is able to believe anything I'm told without experiencing it for myself, for better or worse.
That will serve you well here. :-)
When I look for the I right now, I find nothing solid. There is the thought, "I," that floats into awareness and there is a vague sense of "me-ness" that I can't locate as anything specific or solid, but still seems there, or at least that I associate with myself.
See if you can locate that sense of “me-ness” as anything other than a thought in reality.
I feel a general sense of "me-ness" behind my eyes that feels like a soft pressure in my forehead, even like a numb gently pushing out from within, and in my body, particularly my heart where, as I mentioned, there is a sense of physical-emotional contraction that varies from quite strong to barely noticeable. I also realize these aren't necessarily "I," but just sensations in awareness.
Is a body sensation you?
I just had a twinge of something...that maybe the flavor or me-ness is a kind of habitual association, but isn't really there.
Yes! Keep looking. Is there anything that you can unequivocally identify as an “I?”

Good work, Jonathan. You’re right on track.

I look forward to your reply.

Warmly,

Robyn
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Tue May 09, 2017 8:50 am

Hi, Jonathan,

I apologize for taking to so long getting back to you. I've been unusually busy.
No problem - and my turn to apologize...similar situation!
I hear you and it makes sense to me, but I'm guessing that until I have more certainty in the experience, the fear will linger.
Maybe but why speculate?
Well, I just don't know...anything, really. I was merely saying that I haven't felt a complete release from the fear, except in moments of expansion or awe or intense focus, but it always comes back. For the most part it is faint and manageable. In fact, I've been living on this "edge" for many years, so I've become accustomed to it.
I am not a person that is able to believe anything I'm told without experiencing it for myself, for better or worse.
That will serve you well here. :-)
Haha, perhaps. But again, it is that space of uncertainty that I am accustomed to.
See if you can locate that sense of “me-ness” as anything other than a thought in reality.
I can't locate it as anything specific, so no, not really. But I don't know if I would or could characterize it simply as a thought. I mean, I notice that "I" is a thought. But the sense of "me-ness" that I mention is less distinct than a thought. I can "see" thoughts arise, but the me-ness that I'm talking about is more the quality of the perception, if that makes sense - or that which perceives and experiences the thoughts arising. In other words, "I" am what experiences the thought "I." On one hand, I cannot say that there is anything, anyone, or being, that is separate from the thought, but it feels like there is an "I" and then there is the thought "I," and that the former cannot be reduced to the latter. But I am also open to the possibility--even likelihood--that I simply haven't looked deeply enough...which is why I am here! I am trying to understand what I am missing (or even if I a missing anything...there is also this nagging thought that this whole thing is a sham, that "Santa Claus" is not an illusory self, but the illusion that there is anything to realize...like one of those puzzles that are given to children that have no solution, they are just meant to keep them occupied!).
Is a body sensation you?
All sensations arise within awareness, so are parts of "me." When I rest as awareness, all things that arise - whether thoughts, feelings, perceptions of any kind, even other people, mountains, birds, the sky...they all are "me," in that I cannot separate "me" from what I perceive...there is only perception, or what is perceived and experienced. But some things are more proximal than others, like body sensations, so they seem more me than, say, the mountains. I don't mean to complicate things, but there are subtleties to this, to what I perceive, that are part of the picture of my experience.
I just had a twinge of something...that maybe the flavor or me-ness is a kind of habitual association, but isn't really there.
Yes! Keep looking. Is there anything that you can unequivocally identify as an “I?”
Well, there's the thought. And then there's the source of the thought, which is unknown - "void," although that word doesn't quite work. But no, there is nothing that I can "unequivocally identify" as an I. There is only a sense of contractedness, like when I experience I-ness I have "clenched" on a combination of sensations, thoughts, and feelings that I identify as "me."

As I read over what I wrote, I get the sense of a slippery eel...like my mind finds a way to hold on, always coming up with clever escapes to being directly confronted or negated, like I am a conman not quite ready to give up the con. Does that make sense? I feel myself, again and again, "slipping away," because into a thought stream, or some mental explanation or interpretation.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing how you respond to this...hope I'm not too tough of a nut to crack! ;)

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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Tue May 09, 2017 8:28 pm

Hi, Jonathan,

Glad to hear from you.
In other words, "I" am what experiences the thought "I."
Where is the “I” that the experiences the thought “I?” Can you find it anywhere?
…there is also this nagging thought that this whole thing is a sham, that "Santa Claus" is not an illusory self, but the illusion that there is anything to realize…
Yes, it is a sham. There is nothing to realize ––that's the thing to realize. There is no thinking that can realize anything. All questions are the mind’s attempt to understand, but the only thing to understand is that the mind cannot understand. :-) hehe
There is only a sense of contractedness, like when I experience I-ness I have "clenched" on a combination of sensations, thoughts, and feelings that I identify as "me."
Is a muscular tension you?

Keep looking.

Warmly,

Robyn
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Tue May 09, 2017 10:49 pm

Yes, it is a sham. There is nothing to realize ––that's the thing to realize. There is no thinking that can realize anything. All questions are the mind’s attempt to understand, but the only thing to understand is that the mind cannot understand. :-) hehe
Well, I think that's just it. The mind (thoughts) keeps searching, wanting to understand. I see this go round and round, I identify with the process. I feel a desire to "realize," yet in 20+ years of searching I haven't found anything - or at least not in a lasting way. Moments of insight, feelings of expansiveness, even days in which I felt light and open and laughed at the ridiculous of it all. Yet on the other hand, the mind keeps going, keeps seeking...am I this mind? It certainly arises within awareness, but am I the seeking mind itself?

When I ask this, I feel that I am not - and there is a sense of humor and lightness, like it is a big joke, a cosmic joke that we take the shadows on the wall to be real (good old Plato), yet on the other hand I slip back into identification, seeking, searching.

Sometimes I think that perhaps this expansion-contraction cycle is just how it will always be, like breathing in and out. On the other hand, I see others - like the guides on this site - speak of how once you realize Santa Claus for what he is (or realize the snake is actually a rope, etc), you never believe in him again. This is what I find confusing. I feel like I've seen SC, but still find myself believing in him...which leads me to think that maybe I haven't seen SC, which sends me on a new round of seeking...and so it goes, on and on...
There is only a sense of contractedness, like when I experience I-ness I have "clenched" on a combination of sensations, thoughts, and feelings that I identify as "me."
Is a muscular tension you?
Of course not. It is not "me" or even "I", but it is a felt-experience that I identify with. I see, for a moment, that this is all it is, but it slips away like that eel. This also makes me think, if it is something that can slip away, like an eel, than it isn't "it." But then I get back into searching for "it."

So when you say "keep looking," it is difficult for me to differentiate between "seeking" and "looking," because the latter always seems to become the former, if that makes any sense. Is not to "keep looking," not unlike saying "keep seeking?" If, as you say (or agreed with), the whole thing is a sham and there is nothing to realize, why should I keep looking?

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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Thu May 11, 2017 5:12 am

Hi, Jonathan,
When I ask this, I feel that I am not - and there is a sense of humor and lightness, like it is a big joke, a cosmic joke that we take the shadows on the wall to be real
You are onto something here.

What is your reaction to the statement, “There really is no I?”
yet on the other hand I slip back into identification, seeking, searching.
Here’s an experiment for you: Between now and the next time you reply to me, see if you can get the thoughts to stop for 2 whole minutes and report back to me how it goes.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Warmly,

Robyn
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby jbardo » Mon May 15, 2017 4:57 am

Sorry again for the delayed response, I'll try to be quicker in my replies so we can get some momentum here.
You are onto something here.

What is your reaction to the statement, “There really is no I?”
Depends what you mean by "I." If you mean a distinct and solid entity or locus of self-hood then yes, makes sense to me: can't locate the sucker. If you mean an ever-changing and fluctuating identification of awareness with some configuration of "stuff," then not so much. In that sense, "I" is that aspect of experience that identification is formed around. "I" is what I experience as primary to experience. Part of me thinks that to negate this is just some kind of Advaita rhetorical trickery: it is just messing around with definitions, but not really as profound as it is made out to be.

Yet I had another nudge...I was going to write "I is what I identify with as me," but then realized the ludicrousness of it...it is circular logic. Actually, I am wondering if "I" can be explained without resorting to circular logic.
Here’s an experiment for you: Between now and the next time you reply to me, see if you can get the thoughts to stop for 2 whole minutes and report back to me how it goes.
I have a hard time getting my thoughts to entirely stop, because I'm a classic over-thinker (if you hadn't noticed). The best I can do is either experience "gaps" in the flow of thought, which are quickly filled as conceptualization jumps in to name my experience; or, the thoughts retreating to the background or periphery, and being part of a larger matrix or flow of experience: thoughts, feelings, sensations, sounds, etc. In moments the experience takes on a quality that is hard to put into words, of "oneness" - that is, all parts of experiencing being different aspects or expressions of a totality, but nothing being separate from it.

I want to be honest with you: I have twinges of skepticism about this process - the feeling that what you are trying to point me to is something I've already seen, or is just another conceptual recognition, and that we're going to just go around in circles until I say the right combination of words that convince you I "get it," but with me left feeling like nothing new was realized.

I am also trying to remain open to the possibility that there is something I'm missing. That's why I'm here. I mean, I can't help but feel that I "get" what you and Ilona, Elena, etc are talking about with regards to "no I," but it just doesn't seem to have drastic impact that you is spoken of. I once asked a friend who I consider to be at least somewhat awake why, when I've had "peak experiences" or moments of lucid awakening, I find myself going back to conditioned thinking and egoic consciousness, he said something like "Maybe your realization wasn't deep enough." So that is what I'm here for: to see if "I" can penetrate deeper.

For instance, when I examine awareness, I cannot locate an I - not a distinct, solid self or center of awareness except for a vague sense of me-ness, that I have already described, and which I generally locate in the body, perhaps especially in my head. And I am also willing to accept that this sense of me-ness is accompanied and re-inforced by the thought "I," which is just that: a thought. I also see how I use language (me, my, I) to re-inforce this non-entity, but...life goes on. I still feel stress, anxiety, jealousy, fear, hope, etc, and I still identify as who I am. I get passing moments of "Weird, there is no I to locate, just what is, which seems to be a union of awareness and stuff, emptiness and form, but I still am what I perceive myself to be, even if that is illusory."

So I'm left feeling: where's the beef? (Not sure your age, but that's an 80s reference). I find myself asking, why am I doing this? What's the point? Do I want "my" existence to be substantially different? There seems to be something fatalistic and escapist about the whole thing. I don't want to escape, I don't want to stop being "me." I guess what I want is to remove whatever obstacles remain to a more complete and true experience of existence, and somehow I sense that this so-called delusional "I" is part of that, if not the lynch-pin. So I will go on, and see where this might lead, even if I have doubts.

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Artst
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Re: Where's that gate?

Postby Artst » Tue May 16, 2017 1:21 am

Hi, Jonathan,
Sorry again for the delayed response, I'll try to be quicker in my replies so we can get some momentum here.
No apology needed. It does work well to stay engaged for the sake of momentum.
Depends what you mean by "I." If you mean a distinct and solid entity or locus of self-hood then yes, makes sense to me: can't locate the sucker.
Yes, that’s exactly what I mean by “I.”
not really as profound as it is made out to be.
Jonathan, thank you for expressing your expectations. The point is to simply experience what’s real.
I have a hard time getting my thoughts to entirely stop,
So, is it fair to conclude that you don’t have control over your thoughts?
A vague sense of me-ness, that I have already described, and which I generally locate in the body, perhaps especially in my head.
Jonathan, can you pinpoint exactly what this “sense of me-ness” consists of? Is it a thought, a sensation, an emotion?

Good work, Jonathan. I look forward to your response.

Warmly,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life


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