Seeing through the illusion

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OpenSky
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Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:31 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
If this question means what do I understand by "there is no real, inherent 'self'," I would say that there are regular glimpses of the lack of a separate "me" running the show, accompanied by laughter and tears at the same time. I understand that I will be guided in written interchanges to really see this.

What are you looking for at LU?
Support in seeing through the illusion of a separate self. Support from a guide in helping me focus, look deeply and tell the truth about what I'm experiencing. A committed listener who has already seen through the illusion. A committed guide relationship that requires me to verbalize in writing what I am experiencing and will call me on self-deceit and conceptualizing.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be asked questions based upon my responses that will help me to look deeper and be completely honest in what I am seeing. I expect to be confronted if I am waxing theoretical or fooling myself. I expect the guide to understand where I'm coming from by my responses and help me to go deeper.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Practicing Self-Inquiry in the Ramana Maharshi style for the past 5 years with a good amount of thinning of the sense of being a separate self. Practiced various types of meditation off and on since 1993. Attend a monthly local group led by two awake ladies. Have had a few private sessions with teachers in the non-dual tradition. A good amount of reading and listening to non-dual teachers. CD with 30 guided meditations by Rupert Spira was very helpful. Previously attended Unity, Religious Science churches and the est Training/Forum in the 80s.

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

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Lucas369
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:35 pm

Hello OpenSky,

my name is Luke and I will accompany you for the duration of this self-inquiry here in the forum.
Do you wish to be called OpenSky or by another name?

Your expectations concerning this process are really down-to-earth, which is pretty good. But nevertheless you should know that it will be completely different from that :-) I appreciate your willingness to really LOOK what's real and to be shaked up if you're answering from conception instead of direct experience. Because this is what will be needed here: answers from direct experience, here and now, leaving aside all knowing and believing.

So let's start: Please read this statement and report how you are feeling afterwards. What comes up?

„There is no separate self and there never has been one. All is happening automatically, with no I being involved.“
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Embrace fear, love disappointment and be the light at the end of the tunnel

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OpenSky
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:51 pm

Lucas,

The last name is Sky, and you can call me Sheri, my first name.

What comes up in response to these statements is a feeling of being moved. Tearing up with laughter bubbling underneath. A sense of expansion in the chest.

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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:32 pm

What comes up in response to these statements is a feeling of being moved. Tearing up with laughter bubbling underneath. A sense of expansion in the chest.
Do these feelings and sensations contain a sense of „I“ or „mine“?
If yes, is this sense of „mine“ INSIDE the feelings or somewhere else? Where exactly is it?


If this statement can reveal such strong emotions:
Is there doubt that it tells the truth?
Why is it not true?
Where does a seperate self appear?
Where is life NOT happening automatically?


Looking forward to your answers... :-)
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:23 am

Hello Luke:
The raw feelings and sensations do not have a sense of "me" or "I."
I am not aware of any doubt; the statements you opened with ring true.
I can't find anything when I look inside about why the statement is not true.

Where a separate self appears is in reactivity and resistance, primarily at work. Criticism and judgments that the company owners or my co-workers should or should not be doing such and such. There has been a big shift in this already after our very first interchange. It was not present today at all.

Another area where a separate self appears is in approval seeking or disapproval avoidance. Wanting to look good and spiritual.

The final area that is arising in response to your question about where a separate self appears is in feelings of guilt in response to my 30-year-old son's mental health challenges which he blames me for.

What comes up about where life is NOT happening automatically is a "me" trying to see through the illusion. That strikes me as funny and I'm laughing as I look at this. What a contradiction since the "me" IS the illusion. That is a good one!

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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:50 am

Hi Sheri,

so you have a lot of challenges to deal with in your daily life ;-) I can sense that there's the (comprehensible) wish to get all of this unraveled by seeing through the illusion. I'm not saying that all these topics will not be changed in a positive way by and by. But seeing through the illusion of a seperate self means for the main part just this: realizing that the 'I' was a dreamed character – not less, but also not more than that...

So let's have a look at your expectations:

What do you expect from this process?
How will it change you?
How will it change your daily life?
How will it feel to see through the illusion?

Warm regards
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OpenSky
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:36 pm

Hello Luke:

I appreciate you for the helpful questions.

What do I expect from this process?
I expect to really see and feel deeply that what is happening is what is happening, without an imagined "me" involved. I expect to be pointed--through deep looking and answering questions--to areas of unconsciousness where the "me" notion is being reinforced. I expect the egoic sense of self to drop away if and when it does.

How will it change me?
I have some imaginings now and suspect that the truest answer is, "I don't really know." What is imagined is that when the sense of being a separate self drops, life continues on as before, but without the added suffering of the neurotic "me." I imagine being fully present to what is happening rather than spending unnecessary energy projecting into the future and regretting the past. The body will be relieved of the added stress of needless worry and fear.

How will it change my daily life?
I imagine daily life continuing as it is, yet without the resistance and reactivity that defines the separate self. I foresee an adjustment period in my relationships. My day job will flow more smoothly from allowing everything and everyone to be as they are.

How will it feel to see through the illusion?
At first, there will be a felt-sense of relief when the contrast to the previous suffering and stress are most evident. Then, the new way of being becomes normal and the adventure continues. An underlying sense of well-being and harmony. Nothing special. It is more of an absence of neurotic fears, pride and guilt, which were held in place by the illusion.

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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:57 pm

Hello Sheri,

although all these answers are not totally wrong... – it's completetly different. As different as thinking to know how a strawberry might taste from hearsay compared to the real taste.

And please allow me to use another image. Imagine a woman who is walking through a wonderful landscape. The problem is: She is desperately seeking a pink elephant. Can she see the beauty of the landscape? No. She'll miss it. So I would kindly ask you to drop all of these expectations for they will prevent you from seeing what is right here.
I have some imaginings now and suspect that the truest answer is, "I don't really know."
Yep. Intuition is always right :-) And from there we can start off on the right foot.


Here's an exercise for you: Go and find a REAL person in your direct environment. Look at this person, talk to her/him. Shake hands with her/him.
Then please again imagine the woman who is looking for the pink elephant. See what she is wearing, what colour her hair has. Imagine that you touch her hand. Listen to her voice.

Then compare this woman to the real person right in front of you.

Is she as real as this person in a way that you can find her in direct experience (DE)?
Can you directly listen to her?
Can you really touch her?
Can you clearly see her?

(Please do not only read it but investigate!)

This woman is an imagined character that you'll never meet in direct experience. She does not exist, never has existed and never will exist.

What does it take to make her disappear???

I expect to really see and feel deeply that what is happening is what is happening, without an imagined "me" involved. I expect to be pointed--through deep looking and answering questions--to areas of unconsciousness where the "me" notion is being reinforced. I expect the egoic sense of self to drop away if and when it does.

Finally have a look at the someone who is saying these sentences...

Can you find this 'someone' in DE like the person you've met in the exercise before?
Or is this 'someone' an imagined character like the woman seeking pink elephants?

Find out...
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:41 pm

Hello Luke:

I did the exercise you recommended. Regarding the woman searching for a pink elephant:
Is she as real as this person in a way that you can find her in direct experience (DE)?
No, I cannot directly experience the imaginary woman.
Can you directly listen to her? Can you really touch her? Can you clearly see her?
No, I cannot directly hear, see or touch the imaginary woman.
What does it take to make her disappear???
It doesn't take anything to make her disappear because she isn't really there to begin with!
She is only imagined and disappears from imagination as soon as the imagining ceases.

Regarding the "someone" who said the sentences about expectations,
Can you find this 'someone' in DE like the person you've met in the exercise before?
Wow! I cannot find the "someone" in DE. Never looked at it that way before! I cannot see, hear or touch this "someone."
I see that it isn't about trying to believe or not believe something, but simply checking into DE and noticing.
Or is this 'someone' an imagined character like the woman seeking pink elephants?
Yes, this "someone" is an imagined character with no direct evidence of her existing and no way to directly experience her reality. Feeling into the effect of this seeing. Wonderment, some tension in the solar plexus, feeling very present and alive, a sensation at the top of the head. Sensing that the seeing could go deeper.

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Lucas369
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:22 am

Hello Sheri,

please check out the instructions about how to use the quote function: https://www.liberationunleashed.com/nat ... ?f=4&t=660 This makes reading the posts much easier :-)
I see that it isn't about trying to believe or not believe something, but simply checking into DE and noticing.

YES, exacly! This is the only „reality-check“ you'll need. Look, feel, listen what's already here – and forget about the rest :-) Then life gets much easier...
Sensing that the seeing could go deeper.

Yes, it can. But please don't make a task on your to-do list out of it! No effort or struggle is needed.

Here's another exercise: Please take a pen and a piece of paper. Then write down what you are just doing, for example: „I am breathing. I am sitting on a chair. I get up to get sth. to drink“ etc.

After that do the same again, but this time you write it down without a doer: "Breathing happens, sitting on a chair, getting up to get me a cup of tea,...“

Finally compare the two versions:
Which version describes best what's really happening?
Which version FEELS to be true?
Is an „I“ or „someone“ needed to make all these things happen?


If you like you can have a closer look at this in your everyday life: when you drive in your car, when you do the washing...
Is there a someone doing all this or is it happening automatically?
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:06 am

Hello Luke,

I will check out the quote function instructions tomorrow. Busy day today.

After doing the exercise, I would say that the version that best describes what is really happening is the second version, "breathing is happening," "hearing the sounds in the room," without the "I" claiming the doing. The description of simply what is happening feels to be true. In looking into this, it is seen clearly that there is not an "I" involved or needed for these happenings.

In observing daily activities like walking, there is not a someone doing the activities. They are simply happening. Presently looking at those actions that seem volitional such as taking the time to do these exercises and inquiry on a busy Saturday. There still doesn't seem to be a "me" involved. Seeing that these actions are happening without a "me."

Response to this seeing. Some sense of sadness and a sense of amazement, almost shock. Aware of strange feelings in the brain area, like energy in certain parts of the brain. Feeling peaceful with a little tension in the chest. Feels very good to check in to present happenings like this and it is happening more regularly during the day AUTOMATICALLY!

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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:11 pm

Hi Sheri,

seems that you are making good progress. Great!
Response to this seeing. Some sense of sadness and a sense of amazement, almost shock. Aware of strange feelings in the brain area, like energy in certain parts of the brain. Feeling peaceful with a little tension in the chest.

Yes, that's okay. Just say a warm-hearted welcome to all feelings and sensations!
[Is there a someone who can welcome them? - just kidding... - at least a bit :-]

Maybe it's a good idea to dig a little deeper here. If you dive into what is being felt right now:

Is there an 'I' that is experiencing the feeling?
Are there thoughts about the feeling?
How can a thought have any knowledge about a feeling?
How come that one feeling is called „sadness“ and another „amazement“?
How come that one feels comfortable and the other uncomfortable?
Is there a connection between thoughts and feelings?


Feels very good to check in to present happenings like this and it is happening more regularly during the day AUTOMATICALLY!
Yes, wonderful! The joke is: It's not only „more regularly“ happening automatically. There has never ever been a single thing that has NOT happened totally automatically :-)

PS: Quote-funcion is very easy. Just mark the text you want to quote, then click on "quote" above the writing window. That's it.
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:57 am

Hello Luke:

Quote function may not be compatible with my Chromebook. Will consult with my husband who is a computer professional or try a different computer next time. Apologies for the inconvenience. Learning curve...

Thanks for the encouragement and reminder about welcoming all experiencing. Noticing the welcoming that is always, already present. No "I" accepting or welcoming.

Before diving deeper into what is being felt right now, here is a description of what is being experienced now. Ringing in the ears, feeling the cushion on the seat, tightness in the solar plexus (the #1 symptom of a sense of separate "I"), sensing feet in shoes, feeling nervous and calm at the same time, mentally focused on scanning the experiencing.

There is not an "I" experiencing any of these feelings. They are just here. There is a sense of an "I" claiming uncomfortable feelings like bodily tension and anxiety. Easier with neutral experiencing.

There are no thoughts about neutral feelings and usually no thoughts about positive feelings. There are often thoughts about uncomfortable feelings. Often trying to get rid of the feelings instead of relaxing into the accepting.

"How can a thought have any knowledge about a feeling?"
Mental activity totally stopped after reading this question. It went "Huh?" In a good way. This is a very helpful question.
After considering, what arises is that thought has no knowledge about feeling. A thought is a concept and doesn't exist in the way that DE does. How can a concept, including the concept of "I," have any interaction with DE? That is like a cartoon character having real feelings. Nonsense!

Exploring the connection between thoughts and feelings. Having one feeling called "sadness" and another "amazement" is a matter of labeling, I suppose. There is the actual experience and then there is the secondary naming or labeling in words or thoughts. Actually, one doesn't feel comfortable and the other uncomfortable. Those descriptions are secondary and come in AFTER the actual feeling. Feelings are simply feelings. They simply ARE. They have nothing to do with thoughts. This is very helpful to look at, as well.

There is looking at the same time as typing, without much thinking about. More like insights than thinking about. No sense of "I," except for the tension in the solar plexus. Need some help and additional looking at the association of the "I" with bodily tension/contraction and other forms of resistance/reactivity.

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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby Lucas369 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:00 pm

Quote function may not be compatible with my Chromebook.
No problem. You can just use italic print instead (Mark the quoted text and then press STRG + I). If this does not work don't worry about it! I know what I did write...
That is like a cartoon character having real feelings. Nonsense!
Wow! Perfect description of the I-illusion :-D
Need some help and additional looking at the association of the "I" with bodily tension/contraction and other forms of resistance/reactivity.
Sure. We can have a look at that. Please close your eyes and relax (as far as possible – no struggle...)

- Notice how the thoughts function as a labeling machine, putting every DE in a different drawer and giving it different 'colours' (good, bad, tension, tingling, aching,..)
- Can you find any boundaries? Where does the body start, where does it end?
- Can you know the form and size of the body?
- Can there be found any “owner” of the body?
- Resistance: What exactly IS resistance? Is it really possible to resist what already IS here? Is there a someone 'having' the resistance?
- Can you ged rid of the tension/resistance?
- Is there a 'someone' who wants to drop resistance? Please LOOK...
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OpenSky
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Re: Seeing through the illusion

Postby OpenSky » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:13 am

Hello Luke:

Before your post arrived today, I was looking at bodily tension that arose after a customer interaction at work. Seeing it as simply DE without using it as proof of a "me" or creating a story about how "I" should be beyond this by now. Letting it be there as long as it likes. Expanding attention from being riveted upon the tension. It was then part of a much bigger picture in which everything is okay as it is.

I do notice thoughts naming, labeling and categorizing every DE, always a step behind, after the DE. The thoughts form a story or representation of the experiencing, but are never in the present, always a step behind. And not necessary at all, although they seem to just happen automatically. Like a program running or a machine. There is no "I" in all of this. It just happens by itself.

When I look for boundaries to the body, none are actually found, especially with eyes closed. Even with eyes open, the eyes can't see directly what is looking. Since there are no boundaries, there is no notion of form and size. Really not even a notion of a "thing" at all. There is sensing, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, feeling and perceiving -- all DE -- but no body doing these things. And no "I" doing them. Laughing about this amazing feat.

No owner of the body can be found. There is only experiencing with no "I" doing it at all. Feeling into all of this now. The thoughts are quiet. There is a peaceful calm. Amazement. Gratitude and feeling moved by the increased clarity.
Resistance: What exactly IS resistance? Is it really possible to resist what already IS here? Is there a someone 'having' the resistance?
What I'm calling resistance is a cluster of thoughts and feelings, along with bodily tension. It is a label to describe a group of DEs. It seems to arise when there is an inner argument that what IS shouldn't be. Since it is a label and not a DE, I'm getting that it is simply a notion or concept. Since the "I" is a concept, there is no one to have the resistance. All of this is seeming very shadow-like and unreal. How can a concept of "me" give rise to a concept of resistance? Likewise, there is no "one" to get rid of or drop the tension/resistance. This is all dissolving like vapor. It can't be possible to resist what is here because there is no "one" here to resist. All is simply as it is. Just happening on its own.

It is all really very simple, isn't it? Feeling moved to tears of wonder. A bit of dizziness and sensation of lots of energy. These dialogues are amazingly powerful. Lots of shifts happening that are showing up as peace, joy, friendliness and warmth.


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