Inspired by Jed

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Merrick
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Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:39 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I "believe" I understand this very well, however it is only on the conceptual level. The intellectual level that is none other than just merely another thought. The "self" is just a collection of thoughts and ideas that differentiate 'me' from the rest of the world. This "self" relies on "others" to exist, and creates this separation with labels

What are you looking for at LU?
As I have continued to learn more about (conceptually) the nature of no-self, I have realized that I still operate on a daily basis as if my "self" is real. I recently came across Jed McKenna's book "Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing". The book was a reality check for me. I can have these very interesting philosophical conversations on the nature of reality and the self with people for hours with extreme passion, yet how is this not just "ME", "ego", the "self" keeping its identity attached to my awareness. Who cares what I read and "know" as they are all beliefs and not necessarily true. How can I truly know my beliefs are even true and not just a cunning way of my ego tricking 'me'. What if I carry these "spiritual beliefs" with me until I get old and when I am faced with death, I can finally be honest with my self and realize the contents of my 'self' and it's 'beliefs' are no better than anyone else's attempt at keeping a stranglehold on their 'beliefs' as true. The contents of the beliefs are not significant. Whether it is true or not is all that matters.

Knowing they are not truth is very easy for me to discern I believe as when certain situations in life arise, I immediately get taken over by ego and take action as the 'self'. I have noticed recently that whenever I become aware of the fact that I am living my life through mere beliefs and not necessarily "truths", I seem to very quietly avoid this. It's VERY subtle in the way I shift my focus elsewhere. Perhaps this is a very sneaky trick of the mind and its beliefs to avoid being caught.

Basically, what I am looking for at LU is to not know about truth, but to experience Truth. As scary as it sounds, I believe I can look at the unknown now. I was scared, still scared, but I want to look now.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be guided in a way for me to experience Truth. Honestly, this is my ego speaking now, but I also expect someone who can be compassionate and caring. Of course, expressing this love and care without compromising effectiveness. If that even makes sense...

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
My spiritual practice started about 4 years ago when I first came across the book Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Since then, I have legitimately tried to implement those teachings into my every day life. I have read many more books by other authors, and been on and off with meditation practice. I believe I have made consistent improvements over the years in terms of being more present in everyday life, embracing unknowns, and being more aware of my thoughts without attaching to them.

I got interested in inquiry after learning about Ramana Maharshi's "Who Am I?" But I never truly practiced it. I then read Jed McKenna's first book and got more interested in this direct process of confronting the illusion. I recently started reading "The Book of Not Knowing" by Peter Ralston which is one of questioning our beliefs and such and was basically the first time I truly practiced some self-inquiry. This is very recent though, I barely started the book but I have been doing inquiry on a fairly regular basis now for like a few weeks lol.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self? 9

Bananafish
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:01 pm

Hi Merrick. :)

Thanks for the intro, and welcome to LU.
My name is Bananafish, and I'd be glad to help you.


You seem to be reading several books, and I strongly recommend that you don't
refer to those books for anything to be answered here.
The best way, though, is to stop reading them altogether until you
complete the dialogue here.


From your intro, I got the impression that what you call "ego"
has a strong presence.


Could you freely describe what the "ego" is?

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:01 am

Hi BananaFish! I am grateful something like LU exists and that you are willing to help me :)

No problem, I will put aside my books for the remainder of this conversation with you!
Could you freely describe what the "ego" is?
The ego to me is a funny thing. It's what makes me, "me". It's like a compilation of ideas that when put together, differentiates me from the rest of the world, such as other people, other animals, other life forms like plants, and even rocks. My ego consists of many different things such as my name, body, job, past experiences, memories, among MANY other things.

It's funny because upon closer inspection of these "things" that give me an identity, they are all simply judgments or thoughts and are all transitory. It's easy to conceptually understand how none of these things actually "real".

This sense of "self" or "ego", makes it feel like when I go around living life, there is a thinker thinking the thoughts, a seer seeing, a doer doing, etc... But of course, there is only the doing and no one behind in control of it.

I also realize that this ego is always trying to preserve itself. Project its "life" into the future from the things in the "past" that make it up. Because without it, what is there? This is the 'fear' of no-self as Jed McKenna talks about.

I say the ego is a funny thing because it has all this power over "me" but it's ultimately an illusion.

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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:40 am

Glad to receive your reply, Merrick!

What is this "sense of ego" you
wrote about? How is it sensed?
As one of the five senses?

Please observe this "sense" and
report what you found out.

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:17 am

Okay so I observed this "sense of ego" today and here is what I found.

This "sense" doesn't seem to necessarily be one of the five senses. It seems to be always be a thought, that many times go completely unnoticed. For example:

I have thoughts that start with "I think that blah blah blah" or simply reactions to things that happen such as "man I love the weather today!" So it seems as if this inner commentary using language to announce the presence of an 'I".

Sometimes it works the opposite way. Someone said something to me today that annoyed me and triggered a negative emotion, and my thought process was something like "You can't even do this?!" This "you" seems to imply an "I" that is separate from the "you" and makes the "I" the one experiencing the negative emotion, therefore creates that sense again.

Now that I think about it, it seems this sense of "I" or "ego" comes in at all times, making itself the experiencer of everything positive or negative through internal dialogue/thoughts. But whenever I become intensely present, and observe my awareness, this "sense" is completely gone and I notice simply seeing/hearing/thinking/etc... without a 'do-er' or 'sense of self'.

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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:40 am

Thanks!

Is it fair to say that what you mean by
"the sense of ego" is the thought "I"?

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:28 am

Is it fair to say that what you mean by
"the sense of ego" is the thought "I"?
Yes, but not limited to that. I feel like sometimes the "sense of ego" is also there from thoughts other than the thought "I". Sorry this is really difficult to pin-point exactly what it is. Sometimes, there may not be an "I" thought, it's just an automatic identification with something that "seems to happen to 'me'".

For example,
Sometimes it works the opposite way. Someone said something to me today that annoyed me and triggered a negative emotion, and my thought process was something like "You can't even do this?!" This "you" seems to imply an "I" that is separate from the "you" and makes the "I" the one experiencing the negative emotion, therefore creates that sense again.
In here, there was never a thought "I". It just FEELS like it happens to an "I" or "me" but there was never thinking of the label "I".

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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:23 pm

When there are no thoughts, how is the "I" to which things happen felt?

If you were to put a different label that still describes it well,
what would the label be?

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:33 am

When there are no thoughts, how is the "I" to which things happen felt?
Actually, upon closer inspection, it seems this "I" is felt only when their are thoughts. Before thoughts arise, there is a gap between the experience arising in awareness, and then the following thought. In this gap, there is no sense of "I" and this gap is usually very short. Then thoughts come and I usually automatically identify it as "mine". Sometimes, no thoughts occur during experience and in these moments, there is no sense of "I".
If you were to put a different label that still describes it well,
what would the label be?
I am not sure. The only thing I can think of is that it feels like simply a "sense of self" emerges when thoughts come, unless I maintain awareness from that gap. I usually lose awareness when thoughts arise though, and with this, a "sense of self" emerges. I know this is not a good label, but I can't really describe it.

Thoughts arise, I immediately identify with them 'unconsciously', thus having a "sense of self" emerge out of nowhere, and then this is usually accompanied by some sort of emotion whether it is positive or negative.

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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:54 am

Hi Merrick. :)


Please sit on a chair and observe the
thoughts. In your next post, please write the thoughts exactly the way they appeared.


In the meantime, observe that emotion that rises with the "sense of self". How is it felt? Is it a bodily sensation? Please report from your direct experience, without interpreting it.

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:19 am

Hi Bananafish, sorry today was a very hectic day, but I am eager to explore this tomorrow morning so I will report back tomorrow!

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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:07 pm

Hi Merrick. No worries. :) Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:40 am

My thoughts:

"There are no thoughts coming as I look for them. I don't know if I'm doing this right..."

Sorry, I don't know if I'm doing it wrong or something but when I "observe" my thoughts, I am being very present and no thoughts come for me to write.

I also wanted to reply earlier today but I wanted to give more chance for me to answer the emotion question. I found myself observing myself to see this "sense of self" and when I do so, I don't find anything. Sometimes I do have this "sense of self" when interacting with people and it felt like from direct experience, like as if "cameras" are on me. Like I became to universes focal point. Sometimes when I get this sense, it is experienced with some 'negative' emotion and I know it makes no sense, but I "feel" it around my throat/neck area... I just feel something there.

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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Bananafish » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:31 am

Focus on that feeling around your throat area.


Don't say it's "something." Observe it, and
please describe its quality as precisely as possible, with as many details as possible.
Give it a name.


Please don't write anything unless you're clear about it, and
only write what was found from your direct experience. No theorizing,
guessing or speculating.

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Merrick
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Re: Inspired by Jed

Postby Merrick » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:18 pm

Ok so I had more experiences of a "sense of self' that creates a emotional response. And here is what I experienced:

I was on social media and this one post triggered a "sense of self" in me. I immediately had thoughts of visualizing a scenario where I take action regarding the post. A "fantasizing" of what my "self" wants to do about the situation. This was accompanied at the same time with that feeling around my throat again. It was simply an energetic pulse on the bottom of my throat. Felt warm. Wasn't too overwhelming or anything, but definitely an energetic presence there. When attention is focused on it, the feeling dissipates quickly.


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