Thank you for your post. I admire both your honesty and tenacity. Let’s look at doubt
For starters, doubt is of the mind. While you have undoubtedly intellectually understood that the “I” does not exist, you haven’t yet realized that. There is a huge difference between intellectual understanding and realization. When you let go of the urge to think, then consciousness shines through and you realize aspects of the Truth. As soon as the urge to think turns up, the realization moves to the background. Rest assured, nothing has been “lost”, just obscured by the mind and its various illusionary creations
Review this “I” again. Does it still exist? Where? If the “I” can’t be found, look for another identity that has replaced the “I” – the questioner, the doubter, the thinker. If you find a “sub-identity” inquire into the reality of it. Probe for any beliefs that might be maintaining that “sub identity” such as “there is a need to investigate everything”, there is a need to know the answers”. I suspect that there is still an illusionary identity associated with the mind/body called “Tony”. Self-inquire. Look within. you investigate deeply, looking for your own truth and personal experience
Why does this happen? In short, the lifetime habit of investigating issues and coming up with answers. What has this habit – the “I” that is Tony and the beliefs that Tony has like “I need to investigate this.” The illusion of “I” might be stunned but it’s not dead!! This probably accounts for the tension you describe = the need to “dig deeper” to find an answer
The other issue you need to consider is the use of the mind.
For solving issues material issues, the mind is a valuable tool, because you’re using it to find a solution to a “thing” As the “thing” you’re investigating is illusionary, the mind (also illusionary) can assist in solving it. For non-realization issues, by all means use the mind. As long as the mind is used
Using the mind to inquire about the “I” is necessary to begin with but won’t get you the answer you’re after, because the answer is beyond the mind’s ability to comprehend. At some point (and you’ve reached it), for this type of inquiry, realization (the “ah ha” moment) alone will reveal the answer – the mind won’t. You’ve experienced this: just let go of the need to find an answer – set the mind aside. As Rumi says so beautifully, “Be crumbled. So wild flowers will come up where you are. You have been stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.”
The mind can never be used to find answers to the non-illusionary. It is simply not able to answer questions relating to Truth, Life, Consciousness, Awareness and the like – these are real, all infinite in nature. Only who you really are can realize the infinite. Even then, it can’t be explained, because explanation involves the mind. Realization does not.
The thing is, no answer is needed. All investigation is irrelevant. As you so eloquently wrote in your last post, everything is great just as it is. Simple acceptance precludes the need for any urge to investigate. How can you investigate something that is perfect just as it is. This “field of awareness” that you write about (I call it Life) is beyond our finite comprehension. There is no possibility to understanding the Infinite nature of it. Investigating it is not possible. Once you’ve recognized its existence, trying to understand it is futile. Let go of the need to do that. Accept the present.
Make sense? If it does, practice it! If you find yourself using the mind where you’d rather not, focus on the present moment and the mind will stop (because there’s nothing to solve in the present moment and the mind quickly gets bored). If you want to engage the mind to solve a material issue, do so.
Eloquently putSomething that amazes me at times is that there is actually nowhere to go to reach consciousness, because moving occurs in it....So there are times when I feel lost in thoughts and frustration might arise, even regret, and then there is the seeing that consciousness can't be touched by any of these....Which is great! hehe!
Confidence is a mind thing, an illusionary manifestation experienced by the illusionary “I” when the mind becomes involved.. In reality, neither confidence nor no-confidence exists. Does that “aliveness beyond all things” experiences lack of confidence? I’ll bet that when you experienced that there was no such thing as ‘confidence” or “no confidence” apparent. There was just the aliveness that you wrote about. Fear and sadness are other illusionary manifestations of the mind. They don’t exist in reality either.I really want though for that confidence to be present in the midst of fear or sadness..!
In other words, when you weren’t thinking but just “what is” be, nothing could upset you.
However this does raise one thing: the expectation that after realization all will be blissful, serene and no pesky emotions will enter. Such expectations are simply false. If a friend is ill, sadness will still manifest; if someone speaks badly, then irritation may appear. If a driver behaves irresponsibly and endangers me, anger may still be displayed. In other words, after realization, life continues and these emotions are part of life. HOWEVER, after realization there is no “me” to own the emotions, brood about them and blow them up into a personal injustice or slight. Without anyone to “own” the emotions, they simply arise then quickly pass. Life goes on.
Spend more time relaxing. Focus on the present moment. Let the thoughts drop away See that by doing so you still fully participate in life – you’re not withdrawing from it all and if anything you become more aware of the wonder that is life. When you have to think about an issue, do so knowing that you never “lose” awareness. When you finish using the mind, focus again on the present moment and awareness will cease being obscured by the mind and will again shine though. In such ways, life is experienced.