Requesting guidance through the gate

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OneClearSun
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Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:08 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
What I understand by this is that there are natural processes and movements that flow by themselves with each moment, affected by countless conditions, patterns... Life. And that we put a made-up label on the whole of these proccesses and call it an "I", thus owning the experience as an imaginary person who's having it.

What are you looking for at LU?
I've had this feeling for most of my life -- a feeling of "something's off", like I'm experiencing reality through a skewed perception.
I want to wake up. To untangle this near-constant tension that feels like it's resisting life by holding on to imaginary concepts.
Even though I've had some "spiritual" or "mystical" experiences and altered states, nearly every consistent perspective shift I've had in my life was very simple and straightforward which led me to believe that truth is always simple, it has to be.
I have a lot of questions about reality and life, but I feel like I have to start with the basic truth, to finally see things clearly and unclouded by beliefs and illusions. And from there we'll see what will flow naturally.. I want to stop beating around the bush.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
To have guidance and feedback, have somone to point me back in the right direction when I stray off the path.
Somone with a clear view so that they'll be able to help me see through the self-deception that I may run into.
It's very helpful to have somone who's been there and done that, who can undersand my situation so that I can voice my feelings/thoughts/fears/confusion with complete honesty.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've been a seeker since childhood really, grew up in a "spiritual" enviorment which had both pros and cons. but my "spiritual seeking" started probably 8 years ago when I discovered Gurdjieff's teachings, and since then branched to pretty much anything I could get my hands on..

I have experience in meditation, some in lucid dreaming. Self-inquiry is pretty much new for me.
The simplicity, directness, and seeing-things-as-they-are of this practice is exactly the kind of attitude that has worked the best for me in the past, which both excites me and scares me because it was never directed at questioning my very existence, lol. But I'm ready. So long as that's the truth.. that's the truth. Might as well see it for what it is.

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

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Artst
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:44 am

Hi, OneClearSun,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed :). Glad you made it here.

My name is Robyn, and I can be your guide if that's okay with you.

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 will point the direction and you will be doing the work.

A couple of 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
Bring Art to Life

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OneClearSun
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:43 pm

Hello Robyn! Sounds great, aprreciate your help. I'm ready to begin :)

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:02 am

Hi, OneClearSun,

Great! Let's get going!

First of all, do you want me to keep addressing you as OneClearSun, or is there another name you would like me to call you?

OneClearSun, let's look at your expectations. Please make a list in answer to the following questions:

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.

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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OneClearSun
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:16 am

Hello again Robyn, you can call me Orr, as that's my real name and would probably be more direct and effective :)

Okay, so I've spent a lot of time writing down excpectaions, hopes, and fears. But then, the proccess of writing it down and digging through expectations made me realize that really, first and foremost I just want truth.
I summed up the list for the first question with "relief", but it's the kind of relief that follows when you finally see the truth as it is without running in circles around it and thinking "what if?"
I don't care that much about how things will unfold, I want to let the process flow by itself and experience it with honest curiousity.

The possibility that the "self" is not a real thing, that the whole point of view from which I've experienced reality for most of my life is based on an illusion, is now really at the forefront of my attention!
Every excpectation or hope is irrelevant to me right now because truth is truth and I just want to finally see it! Do "I" really exist?

To keep 100% honest, beside the only expectation of simply finding out the truth, I have some worries that fall into the "what I do not want to happen as a result of this" category so I wrote them down too. They are probably completely silly but there's some resistance there that I have to acknowledge.

Here's the short, updated list:
What do you expect to happen as a result of this?
  • To see, experience and answer for myself, irrefutably, wheter "I" is real.
  • If the answer is an experiental NO, then I probably expect a domino effect of beliefs and behaviours that were built on the notion that "I" is real to begin dissolving. Like releasing a burden.
What do you want to not happen?
  • There is some fear about losing a sense of ambition and purpose, becoming a drifter like some "spiritual" people I've known that were just repeating a mantra of "everything is perfect, there's nothing to change, life is beautiful" while they and the people around them suffered from consequences that could've been avoided if they showed more responsibility and handled things differently.
  • There is an uneasy feeling about maybe finding out as a result of seeing through the "self" illusion, that so many of my other beliefs and ideals that directed me through life are also illusory, and losing a sense of meaning to anything.
  • A fear of being easy to manipulate and harm, with no "one" to be on guard.
What are you hoping for?
  • That the seeing would be quick and easy, and that I would be pleseantly surprised by the result.
That's it, Looking forword to hearing from you!

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:09 am

Dear Orr,

Thank you so much for your deep work on the questions I sent. I appreciate where you arrived -- clear, as you wrote, you want the truth and I'm exactly, exactly like you about that. That's the whole point of this.

As for your fears, they are completely understandable. You won't lose anything. My experience of people who cross the gateless gate is that they are still themselves and still love being productive. I have found that I have become much more relaxed and gentle with myself when it comes to accomplishing things and making a difference in the world, and that I actually get more done in less time without the stress and the pressure and criticism I used to put on myself. Things flow much more effortlessly. :-)

Can you put aside those concerns? They could be obstacles to seeing, if you can't let go of them.
If the answer is an experiental NO, then I probably expect a domino effect of beliefs and behaviours that were built on the notion that "I" is real to begin dissolving. Like releasing a burden.
You may start to see it but this domino effect may not have begun and you could doubt you are really seeing. So, can you put aside this expectation?

Are you willing to set aside the hope/expectation that it will happen in a certain time frame?

I'm going to assume the answers to the two questions above is yes, and proceed as if it is. If not, please let me know and we will do some work to assist you in letting go of them.

Otherwise, if the answer is yes, let's jump in.

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

Sending love,
Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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OneClearSun
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:25 pm

You may start to see it but this domino effect may not have begun and you could doubt you are really seeing. So, can you put aside this expectation?

Are you willing to set aside the hope/expectation that it will happen in a certain time frame?

Yes, putting aside all expectations. I'm ready to get going.
If you look for the I, what is there? Can you describe what you find?

I can't find any coherent solid thing which represents the I, it's more of an amalgamation of this body, the feelings and emotions at the moment, thoughts coming and going, but there's this strong sense of being a self who's experiencing all of this.
I try to look deeper into what I mean when I say "I" or "Orr", who is he? and I can see it consists of attachments to memories and ideas about this character.
I look at the memories and deconstruct them, and I find a visual picture of what I saw at the time, an auditory sense of what I heard, physical and emotional feelings, thoughts, all bundled up together in the scene. But there's no solid "I" in this equation. Just like now. Still, it had to happen to someone?
There's an attachment to this character for sure, I can feel physical and emotional responses when I think about good and bad things that have happened to this character, or even feelings about the character itself and its personality in general.

Keep looking at it... I can definitely see how this "me" is really like a character from a story, it's pretty logical, I mean every person sees "me" differently so which one is the real one? They're just different ways of constructing (imagining..) this character from different angles (each person and their own beliefs about this character called Orr, from their unique experiences with it). The more I think about it the more sense it makes, and the character does seem to be less and less solid.

Yes, it makes more sense now, yet I still feel like I'm a me! even if this me is loose and amorphous. I can say that my personality is not really a solid thing, but it still feels like my personality. Who's experiencing this personality? Why does it feel so much like I'm a seperate person to which things happen. I try to look but I keep feeling like the observer who's looking..

Ugh, I hope I didn't get off-track too much, I could use some pointers.
Your help is very much appreciated Robyn.

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:44 am

Hi, Orr,
I can't find any coherent solid thing which represents the I, it's more of an amalgamation of this body, the feelings and emotions at the moment, thoughts coming and going, but there's this strong sense of being a self who's experiencing all of this.
I'm going to help you simplify this process of looking into 'Direct Experience,' or DE. Here are the components of Direct Experience: sights, sounds, body sensations, emotions and thoughts. Everything you experience directly will consist of one or more of these. You were describing Direct Experience in the sentence I quoted above until you got to this part:
there's this strong sense of being a self who's experiencing all of this.
Tell me, in terms of Direct Experinece, what exactly is this sense?
it consists of attachments
Same question -- what are these things you call attachments in DE? Or, put another way, what do 'attachments' consist of?

Don't worry, Orr! You're doing great. This is not easy to grapple with and it takes courage. I'll do my best to point you to the path of seeing.

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:32 pm

there's this strong sense of being a self who's experiencing all of this.
Tell me, in terms of Direct Experinece, what exactly is this sense?

Let's see.. the Direct Experience of this moment consists of:
  • The sight of the computer screen in front of me and its surroundings.
  • The sounds of children playing outside, birds chirping etc.
  • Physical sensations of this body sitting in a chair, feeling the texture of clothes.
  • A feeling of calmness.
  • Thoughts coming and going by themsleves.
Actually, just noticing these things made some things clear, first of all, not only thoughts but really all of these sensory experiences come and go by themselves without any need to do anything.
Second, every component of DE has a following thought which labels it. First there are sounds, sights, sensations, feelings, and almost simultaneously there's a thought that labels them "computer", "children playing outside", "birds chirping", "chair", "calm" etc.

Now for your question itself, in terms of Direct Experience components, this sense of being a self is a thought. Like the labels I've noticed for sights, sounds and so on, it's a thought with a label called "me"/"I". But what does the label point to? I can't find anything.. I have to add another component which is the awareness that is aware of all these experiences. It must be here for all of these sensory experiences to be known doesn't it?
I realize that this awareness may be impersonal and that labeling it "me"/"I" may be inaccurate.

it consists of attachments
Same question -- what are these things you call attachments in DE? Or, put another way, what do 'attachments' consist of?

They're just feelings, followed by thoughts that label them. Pleasent/Unpleasent feelings that appear as an automatic reaction and are then labeled as "I like it"/"I dislike it" and so on.
This feels very clear that there is no me who is attached to anything. Just objects which trigger feelings which trigger mental labels. No "me" in the process.

Things are getting clearer but it also gets a bit disorienting, I'll sit with this for a while focusing on direct experience.
Please, if I'm missing the mark here I would love to have another pointer.

Looking forward to your reply,
Orr.

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:10 pm

Hi, Orr,

You're right on track. Great job!

I'm going to send just one additional question for the moment --
Pleasent/Unpleasent feelings
What makes them pleasant or unpleasant? Are they pleasant or unpleasant aside from thoughts?

I lied. ;-) . I do have one more for you --

Do some more observing and see if the order is always the same, e.g.
every component of DE has a following thought which labels it.
Or is it sometime first-this-then-that phenomenon?

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:12 pm

Hi Robyn, sorry for the delay, the last couple of days have been super busy.
every component of DE has a following thought which labels it.
Or is it sometime first-this-then-that phenomenon?

Not sure if I understand your question correctly, but it seems that the raw sensory experience always comes beore the thinking-label.
Actually there is an exception I see now. If for example somone would say to me something offensive, first there would be the sounds, then the interpretation and the thought of "this person is offending me" and THEN there would be a new physical and emotional reaction as a direct result of that thought (a completely different physical/emotional reaction would occur if the preceding thought was "this person is complimenting me").
It's happening right now! a thought comes up - "ugh I don't think I'm getting it right" and only then a physical sensation of contraction. It's sort of a feedback-loop.
So yes, sometimes the thought and labels cause new sensory experience to occur.

Pleasent/Unpleasent feelings
What makes them pleasant or unpleasant? Are they pleasant or unpleasant aside from thoughts?

Hah, good catch :) Actually, when directly looked at, they are just feelings, sensations, which are then thought of as pleasant or unpleasant. Event neutral is a label.

It's been a long day and I'm feeling tired now. I stop and catch this experience in real time and look at it. What I see is an experience of physical sensations: heaviness behind the eyes and in some other parts of the body, shallow and quiet breathing, and an automatic thought that pops up - " I'm tired ".
Who is tired? When I look all I can find is a series of experiences which "I" have no control over, including the thought that I am tired.

But who is doing the looking? Again it's just a process of looking. It all starts to feel like a computer program with lots of simultaneous processes that interact with each other, with no central manager.

When every thought is looked at as a direct experience of thought in real time, then this whole inner dialouge that is happening at the moment, all of these questions, feel like the program is trying to debug itself and interacts with its many parts trying to get to a mutual understanding and "order" (not sure if that's the right word for it, but something like that). There's something very relaxing about just letting the process unfold without attaching the identity of "me" to any one of the voices in this dialogue.

...
Not sure if that's just the physical tiredness or a sneaky form of resistance, but it's getting really difficult to focus with clarity, I have to take a break for now.
I'm off to get some sleep, thanks again.
Hope to hear from you soon, perhaps with a helpful pointer.

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:35 pm

Dear Orr,

Glad to hear from you. No problem -- life is happening.

Wow. Good job looking at Direct Experience!
So yes, sometimes the thought and labels cause new sensory experience to occur.
How do you know the thoughts and labels are causing it? Is this true in Direct Experience or a belief?
Who is tired? When I look all I can find is a series of experiences which "I" have no control over, including the thought that I am tired.

It all starts to feel like a computer program with lots of simultaneous processes that interact with each other, with no central manager.
Excellent! Yes!
There's something very relaxing about just letting the process unfold without attaching the identity of "me" to any one of the voices in this dialogue.
Lovely, Orr.

Let's look further into this business of a doer or causing. Here's an exercise for you:
Sit quietly and lift and lower your right arm slowly 25 times. As you do so, look closely at what is actually happening. What, if anything is causing the arm to lift and lower? Let me know what you discover.

I hope you have had a nice rest.

I look forward to hearing back.

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby OneClearSun » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:13 pm

Hi Robyn, thank you for your quick response.

It's a very moody day so far, feeling kinda down so we'll see how it affects the process.
By the way, in all of my posts I write as I go, taking breaks and coming back, so the tone and direction might change completely from beginning to end.
So yes, sometimes the thought and labels cause new sensory experience to occur.
How do you know the thoughts and labels are causing it? Is this true in Direct Experience or a belief?

Well it's an assumption based on repeatable observable behaviour. I'm still not sure if it's wrong.
However in terms of Direct Experience, it's just a thought (a belief or assumption - thought interacting with thought) and doesn't really have any tangible existence. There's just things happening, and the moment I try to make out a cause and effect scenario and an order to experience, I enter into the realm of thinking and out of the realm of Direct Experience.

It's so easy to slip out of Direct Experience and into beliefs and assumptions! Ugh. It's amazing how thought creates explanations and stories constantly.

"Hmm let's see, these shapes and colors are familiar.. right! that's the sofa, here's the table, oh what are these sounds that I hear? The birds outside of course. And these physical sensations? Sitting, chair, reclining. Let's put the pieces together now - I am a person, I am in this body sitting in the living room, relaxing, listening to the birds outside my window"

This is a super simplified version of this story construction that I see. It all happens so blazing fast that it's easy to miss how it's all made out of thoughts interacting with each other, but it really feels like this story telling goes on constantly.

Sitting for a while, focusing on the contrast between Direct Experience and this story-construction made me feel a bit uneasy..
Direct Experience feels like im watching reality through the eyes of an infant, just experience without an experiencer and with no stories or assumptions.
It flows together like one wave and it feels good to be it.

But, it's also clear that the labeling, storytelling function has a critical role in modern life.
Money is just a piece of paper that the story-maker says has an imaginary value, with which the imaginary person can purchase food to nourish its body. So yes, it's useful and important, but ultimately it's all stories.

Now the uneasy part.. it's clear that Direct Experience and the story of the self and world are very different things, but that means that *every* belief I have is not real in terms of Direct Experience. It's like a map with which we navigate through reality, some parts of it are useful and some are not, but no part is "real" anymore than a thought.
I think maybe I get the point now, that it's about seeing through the illusion of the self, seeing it as a story, but not necessarily "eradicating" it like some spiritual traditions urge you to do. But it's a little unsettling to realize that other than the immediate Direct Experience, I know nothing.. Every belief can be put to question.

I may have gone down a rabbit hole there.. But it's probably better if I share my experience with you before I dismiss it.
Let's look further into this business of a doer or causing. Here's an exercise for you:
Sit quietly and lift and lower your right arm slowly 25 times. As you do so, look closely at what is actually happening. What, if anything is causing the arm to lift and lower? Let me know what you discover.

Yes it's a good direction to explore because there's still confusion about this subject.

The arm is moving, there is movement which itself doesn't seem to come from any doer. It's just happening.
But, there is the intention to move it, or to keep it moving, and "I" can have the intenton of stopping the movement at will.
There's a clear sense of the body moving itself by itself, but if there is no "I" with a free will, who decides to move the arm in the first place, where does this action come from? Also the counting, there's an intention behind each count, and memory of the last one, and an intention to stop when reaching 25, it really makes it seem like there's a manager to this operation. It's very confusing, I definitely need some more pointers here.

_____

I took a break, and came back to try it again.
The arm is moving, there is movement which itself doesn't seem to come from any doer. It's just happening.
This time I'm looking at the counting, the intention to start/keep/stop moving the arm, and the thoughts evaluating the process in real-time, through Direct Experience, and they all seem to happen by themselves! just like everything else. Yes there is intention, evaluation etc. but they happen without anyone initiating them.

It all feels weird, I feel like the seeing is getting closer but the confusion is still there..
Where does it all come from? What's happening here? Is this entire conversation - just life doing its thing with itself? Who is here to even have this guidance?
What if there never even was a me? it all just happened anyway... There's a brief flash of a completely different perspective of being, so weird compared to the usual perspective and yet so simple that it made me want to laugh..

There's a mild feeling of being spaced-out but it's different, hard to put into words.
It might be a realy good opportunity to pierce through the illusion,
Really hope to hear from you soon!

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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:25 pm

Hi, Orr,

Great job! Things are getting clear.

Keep noticing. Don't worry - seeing through the illusion will keep happening. You're not going to lose it.

I have to run right now but promise to get back to you with more before I sleep.

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Requesting guidance through the gate

Postby Artst » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:42 am

Hi, Orr,
There's just things happening, and the moment I try to make out a cause and effect scenario and an order to experience, I enter into the realm of thinking and out of the realm of Direct Experience.
Are you familiar with the story, The Emperor's New Clothe by Hans Christain Andersen? In that story, the emperor was duped into believing a very special set a of new clothes had been made for him that was invisible to anyone who was unfit for his position, stupid or incompetent. So everyone pretended to be able to see the new clothes so as not be considered stupid. (Perhaps they even believed the clothes were there but they couldn't see them!) Finally, a child cries out that the emperor has on no clothes.

We have been taught that we are an I. We have a name that individuates us. The child in the story spoke up for his Direct Experience. In doing the work of looking here at LU, you are becoming like the child in the story -- telling the way it is.
Direct Experience feels like im watching reality through the eyes of an infant, just experience without an experiencer and with no stories or assumptions.It flows together like one wave and it feels good to be it.
Yes. Beautiful
But it's a little unsettling to realize that other than the immediate Direct Experience, I know nothing.. Every belief can be put to question.
This can indeed be an uncomfortable process. On the other hand, exciting maybe, right? No I to be attached to beliefs.

Orr, what do beliefs consist of in DE?

Excellent observations from doing the arm lifting exercise!
the confusion is still there.
What does confusion consist of in DE?
There's a brief flash of a completely different perspective of being
Yes, great!

Stay with it, Orr.

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life


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