Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

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apmfree
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Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:43 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the idea of a self is an illusion created by the mind. "I","me", "my" point to other thoughts or to nothing. The mind labels thoughts with "I","me","my" to create the illusion of a doer. None exists and never did. There is no separate individual that dictates his/her actions. Life simply unfolds. Like a play or a movie.

What are you looking for at LU?
I was blown away by reading "Gateless Gatecrashers", and the LU direct pointing methodology. I love the direct, no b.s. approach. I thirst for the truth, and not seeking peak experiences (like many other seekers).

Looking for further clarity and deepening into the experience of no self. Not stable in no self yet. There is a sense that the body operates on it's own, but still a false sense that "I" am directing my thoughts.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
To really challenge core beliefs and conditioning around the sense of a separate self. Encourage looking at the core beliefs that keep pulling 'me' back into a sense there is a separate self.

After reading "Gateless Gatecrashers" I had the realization that no one is home, that there is no "I". I felt great for several days. However since then I seem to be oscillating between the 'no self' experience and getting sucked back into the illusion of being a separate self, a doer. This is particularly true of my thoughts (and not so much my body, which seems to be operating on it's own).

If the guide to could really help me dig in and help me uncover the beliefs and conditioning that keep pulling me back into the illusion of 'self', and assist me in seeing that these beliefs are false, then that would be absolutely transformational.

I'm not easily offended and ready to have my beliefs challenged.

Through self-inquiry I've come the realization that 99% of the suffering I've experience has been cause by the false belief that I'm a separate self. I'm ready to 100% let this go. The iVirus has not served me well!

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've been a seeker since the age of 22 (now 40). I've done approximately 3500 hours of meditation during that time. This includes: vapassanna, holosync/iawake, neuro-feedback, art of living, etc.

Most recently I did Finders Course (http://finderscourse.com/), and had a dramatic shift to a different way of experiencing the world. I'm experiencing a greater degree of detachment and non-doership. Life is more of a flow. There's a sense of spaciousness to this experience.

Since then I've been doing quite a bit : group meditation, subtle noting meditation, and self-inquiry.

I read the 'Gateless Gatecrashers' cover to cover. I could not put it down. I had a realization of 'no self' while reading the ebook that was very profound.

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

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gondwana
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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby gondwana » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:58 am

Hi apmfree,

Firstly, let me apologise for it taking a while for a guide to pick up your thread. We are very busy at the moment, but at least that is a good sign that many people are ready to challenge their belief in the separate self :)

Secondly, a warm welcome to the Liberation Unleashed forums, it sounds like you are ready to look! I will be most happy to guide you. Should I call you apmfree, or is there some other name you prefer to go by?

Before we get started, just a few important preliminaries.

Throughout our conversation I will ask you a series of questions. For each question, you will need to look in your OWN direct experience, and answer with 100% honesty. Please answer each question individually (using the quote function) and answer every question each time.

I point. You look. You tell me what you see, right there and then in the present moment. Rinse & repeat. Simple :)

The answer MUST come from your own direct experience, in the present moment (the NOW). That means: avoid thinking about it too much and analysing, avoid relying on memory of what happened some other time. Always LOOK in the now, the present moment. This also means avoid relying on the thoughts and memories of others, so please avoid reading books/blog posts/YouTube videos/etc related to seeking and the teachings of others, for the entire period of our conversation. This is very important.

Lastly please watch the below 30 second video and learn how to use the quote function. This is important for us to have a clear, structured dialogue centred on the question and answer format.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ

Please make an effort to write here every day. This works best if we keep a constant focus on looking!

Does the above sound ok?
Tim
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:55 pm

Hi Tim,

That sounds great! Instructions are crystal clear.

Look forward to beginning this journey. :)

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:05 pm

Should I call you apmfree, or is there some other name you prefer to go by?
You can call me Amit. (my real name)

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby gondwana » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:08 pm

Thanks Amit!

Firstly, lets take a quick look at expectations.

I am familiar with the Finders Course. What is it that you hope to get from Liberation Unleashed, which was not already gained from the Finders Course?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:28 pm

Great question!
I am familiar with the Finders Course. What is it that you hope to get from Liberation Unleashed, which was not already gained from the Finders Course?
I had a profound shift of my day to day experience as a result of going through Finders Course. This included: increase detachment, less mindchatter, greater sense of well being and peace. And even deep experiences of non duality at times.

I thought “I” had arrived. However, still had the sense there was a “me” calling the shots.

The expectation is to get to the point where it’s absolutely clear that there is no “me” in control. That is body/mind associated with this awareness is operating on it’s own.

I don’t feel I’m there yet. Reading "Gateless Gatecrasher" helped me look and see that there is in fact no ‘self’, other than an elaborate set of thoughts, and memories weaved by the mind. However, I keep getting pulled backed into the narrative of a separate self.

There’s a battle going on in my mind. Self referential thoughts are popping up in one part of the mind, while the other part of my mind is asking: “who is ‘I’”, “who is ‘me’”. It’s very frustrating and confusing. :(

Plus, there is a strong contraction in my stomach, and there’s a strong sense that this contraction is connected to the belief/conditioning that there is separate self. It's trying to hold on.

Yes, less narrative and story is popping into my mind. It’s calmer. However, anxiety about the future is repeatedly popping up as a strong emotion.

This is my honest experience.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby gondwana » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:17 am

Thanks for your honest and complete answers!
I had a profound shift of my day to day experience as a result of going through Finders Course. This included: increase detachment, less mindchatter, greater sense of well being and peace. And even deep experiences of non duality at times.

I thought “I” had arrived. However, still had the sense there was a “me” calling the shots.
Yes, that makes sense. What they do there, and what we do here, are in fact complimentary techniques in a sense - we simply approach the problem from two different sides. Tackling it from both sides is not a bad thing.

Specifically, the FC material doesn't really address the illusion of the separate self directly, it is more expected that you will just arrive at that realisation experientially along the way. So it's not unusual if that did not happen.

One final question on that. Which PNSE location would you say you landed in from taking the Finders Course, and which PNSE location would you say you are in right now?
The expectation is to get to the point where it’s absolutely clear that there is no “me” in control. That is body/mind associated with this awareness is operating on it’s own.
That expectation is spot on! It is exactly what we will do :)
There’s a battle going on in my mind. Self referential thoughts are popping up in one part of the mind, while the other part of my mind is asking: “who is ‘I’”, “who is ‘me’”. It’s very frustrating and confusing. :(
Embrace the battle, surrender into it. Enjoy it. This is a REALLY good thing! :)
This battle is the final stage before exhaustion sets in, leading to the belief in the separate self being FINALLY surrendered forever.

And anyway, as you have probably learned from the Finders Course, "awakening" (if we may loosely call it that, for it is more of a "remembering of the truth") does you, rather than you doing IT. This is because in truth there IS no "you" there to do anything, including becoming awake, and including being awake or not awake! It will happen all by itself once the false idea of "you" steps out of the way.
there is a strong contraction in my stomach, and there’s a strong sense that this contraction is connected to the belief/conditioning that there is separate self. It's trying to hold on.
When this arises next, LOOK at it carefully, innocently, like a child staring at church painting.
Look in the present moment, what is true NOW - not memory from a moment ago.
What is this "feeling"/"strong sense" made up of?
Look closely.
Does it contain body sensations?
Does it contain thoughts about anything?
Does it contain anything else?

Looking forward to your answers!
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:05 am

Hi Tim,

Great to hear from you!
Which PNSE location would you say you landed in from taking the Finders Course, and which PNSE location would you say you are in right now?
I landed in Location 3 by the end of Finders Course. It was an amazing ride. :)

Right now, I believe I’m in early location 4. However I don’t feel stable here. Lots of oscillations coming up. Sometimes I feel like I’m totally there, other times the narrative mind takes over and I temporarily forget there is no self.

I feel as if I have one foot past the Gate and the other foot is still at the entrance of the Gate.
What is this "feeling"/"strong sense" made up of?
Look closely.
Does it contain body sensations?
Does it contain thoughts about anything?
Does it contain anything else?
Ok I took a look at the strong contraction in my stomach and meditated on it.

Here’s what’s coming up: it’s definitely a body sensation: i feel tight muscles. Feels like a knot in the belly.

Here are the feelings and thoughts that are coming up connected to this knot in the belly: anxiety, holding on, scared, and confused.

At the energetic level here is what’s coming up: stuck, it’s an energetic block of sorts.

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gondwana
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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby gondwana » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:41 am

Here’s what’s coming up: it’s definitely a body sensation: i feel tight muscles. Feels like a knot in the belly.

Here are the feelings and thoughts that are coming up connected to this knot in the belly: anxiety, holding on, scared, and confused.

At the energetic level here is what’s coming up: stuck, it’s an energetic block of sorts.
Ok, thanks, that's good.

Now, for us to make progress with this some basics need to be established.

To get to the very subtle realisation of directly seeing no-self, we have to get very very strict at only dealing with what can be known in ACTUAL EXPERIENCE (AE). This is important because these are the only things we can sense directly, and they are common to everyone, so they give us a common base language which can be used to compare experiences (essential for direct pointing).

These are the ONLY things that can be known in actual experience:
The seen
The heard
The smelled
The tasted
Sensation (touch)
The cognised (thoughts)

Energy, energetic blocks, the subtle body, etc are NOT part of this list, because they cannot be sensed directly. They would only appear as perhaps sensations, thoughts, often a combination of both, perhaps also the seen, etc.

For this last part of the journey, we can only trust that which can be known in actual experience. Note that it is HAVING the experience of something from that list which we are concerned with, and NOT the content. E.g. we are interested THAT a thought arose, but the actual content of the thought is often not useful. We may be interested THAT a sensation occurred, but specifically what it felt like is often not useful.

One last thing, feelings/emotions are actually a composite of multiple things on that list - they are not on the list in their own right. An emotion is a concept. It is actually composed of sensation + thought, which we label as the emotion.
e.g. fear may be a tightening in the gut + the thought "I am scared" -> we label that "fear". It's a concept!
Please take a moment and check in your own actual experience.
LOOK in the present moment at what happens for you.
Is it true?
Can it be seen that an emotion carries a sensation plus the thought associated with it?
Can it be seen that these are actually two subtly separate and independent entities?
Can it be seen that the sensation itself, is actually NOT personal - its just a sensation?
Can it be seen that only the content of thought labels the sensation "mine"?
LOOK in your own experience now and report back what you find!

"Stuck", and "energetic block" those are also concepts. You may find a sensation + thought leads to those.
They're ok for other purposes, but concepts are only a hindrance here.

Then we'll return to your list with this new perspective in a moment.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:26 am

Hi Tim

You’ve given me a lot to chew on :)

I’ve followed the emotions coming out of my tightness in my gut throughout the day.
One last thing, feelings/emotions are actually a composite of multiple things on that list - they are not on the list in their own right. An emotion is a concept. It is actually composed of sensation + thought, which we label as the emotion.
e.g. fear may be a tightening in the gut + the thought "I am scared" -> we label that "fear". It's a concept!
Please take a moment and check in your own actual experience.
LOOK in the present moment at what happens for you.
Is it true?
Can it be seen that an emotion carries a sensation plus the thought associated with it?
Can it be seen that these are actually two subtly separate and independent entities?
Can it be seen that the sensation itself, is actually NOT personal - its just a sensation?
Can it be seen that only the content of thought labels the sensation "mine"?
LOOK in your own experience now and report back what you find!
Yes, I can absolutely see that emotions = sensations + thoughts. And they are separate and distinct.

If I hit my knee and experience the sensation of pain as a result. There is no story around it. No thoughts. Or rather no thoughts that result in emotions. Just thought related to how taking action to reduce the pain. “I need to grab an ice pack!” And of course the pain is not personal.

I can see that thoughts coming from the sensations in the gut. The thoughts are arriving when I focus on the tightness in the gut.

When I’m not focused on it, it’s just a sensation in the gut, and nothing else.

The sensations don’t feel personal at all. However the emotions (coming from the sensation, thought combination) DO feel personal.

It’s clear the mind is labeling the sensations with roughly the following thoughts: “I feel anxious”, “I feel exited”, “I feel a bit scared”

Even if I try to refrain it as “anxiety is arising”, the mind non-verbally is labeling an owner to the anxiety. Very sneaky!

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:28 pm

Hi Tim

Checking in. The knot in my stomach is almost desolved and there does not seem to be any thoughts attached to this sensation!

However now there is emotions (sensation + thoughts) in the throat and solar plexus. I'm in the process of selling my house right now, it's been on the market for almost 2 weeks now, and the thoughts associated with the sensations say: "OMG why haven't we received an offer on the house yet." Keeps popping up! LOL

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Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby gondwana » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:02 am

The sensations don’t feel personal at all. However the emotions (coming from the sensation, thought combination) DO feel personal.
But it was seen now that emotions = sensation + thought right? That is what they are made of.

So, sensations are not personal. Just an experience.

Thoughts only SEEM personal, because we attach meaning to the content.
But isn’t the belief that “I” had a thought also just another thought?
It’s clear the mind is labeling the sensations with roughly the following thoughts: “I feel anxious”, “I feel exited”, “I feel a bit scared”
Yes. The mind is a labelling machine! This is what it does. It is there simply to label, all day long, with zero intelligence or discernment of the applicability of the label. It’s just a robot, it doesn’t understand.

So indeed the mind does love to label sensations.
But those labels are thoughts!
Even if I try to refrain it as “anxiety is arising”, the mind non-verbally is labeling an owner to the anxiety. Very sneaky!
Excellent! You saw a very subtle lower level of the trick there. It is indeed very sneaky! Yes, even when you try to re-frame the thought as impersonal, the mind will jump in and label it as “mine”.

This is the problem with ALL thought, which is why we cannot use it for self-inquiry. We only use LOOKING at what is immediately true in actual experience, in the present moment. Because all thought immediately gets labelled “me” as that is what the mind does, so thought cannot be used as a tool to pierce the illusion because it ITSELF is responsible for creating the illusion.

Could you use a thief to catch a thief?

Mindchatter, as you put it, while it may be reduced now and that is a good thing from a spaciousness/equanimity perspective, it is NOT the entirety of the problem dealt with. This is why people can meditate for a lifetime, get super equanimous and peaceful and have mystical experienceea, but yet never realise no-self. As you have just seen, the “I” thought is also conceptual/non-verbal, and it occurs all of the time, in very subtle (sneaky) ways that slip below the radar and continue to occur even when mindchatter subsides. This last nonverbal thought layer must be pierced in order to see through the illusion.

Let’s take a look at some basics first.

Try this for real, and report back what you find:

Sit at home with eyes closed. In your mind, imagine going to the kitchen and getting a piece of fruit (be sure to choose something you already have in stock as we will need if after).

Try to fully imagine actually going there, picking it up, the look of it, the colour, texture, smell, reflections of light. Then imagine biting into the fruit, tasting it, the texture, sweetness, sharpness, all the qualities. Imagine every aspect, make it as real as possible! This is an example of using thought.

Now open your eyes, and actually go to the kitchen. Take the piece of fruit out for real, and look at it, examine the colour, texture, smell, reflections of light. Now actually bite into the fruit and taste it, experience the texture, the sweetness, sharpness, etc. This is an example of actual experience (AE).

How does actual experience compare to thought?
Which feels more real?
Was thought able to fully capture all the detail and richness of the experience?
Can thought actually ever be as complete as AE?

Please answer each question individually, and answer all questions.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:38 pm

Could you use a thief to catch a thief?
Haha..of course not! Just like an eye cannot see itself.
How does actual experience compare to thought? 
The actual experience blows away the imagined one. Still have the taste of the pear in my mouth. Just ate it. YUM!!
Which feels more real?
The actual experience, of course!
Was thought able to fully capture all the detail and richness of the experience?
Hardly. Much like seeing a black and white low resolution picture of a Monet painting on the internet, versus seeing the real one in a museum.
Can thought actually ever be as complete as AE?
Never, the thoughts are an ersatz experience.

Wanted to share a breakthrough I had regarding the mind silently labeling thoughts…

While I was meditating today I realized that all sensory experience: touching , tasting, feeling, hearing, seeing are also being non-verbally labeled with an owner and a doer!

Also, body sensations are being non-verbally labeled as coming from “my” body. The appearance of the body is being labeled as “my body”.

We do not own (or do) any of this. Not the heart beating, the body sensations, not the tasting, feeling, hearing, seeing, the appearance of the body. NOTHING!

There are all just appearances in awareness. Just like the birds and crickets chirping.

It is all ONE experience. The illusion of ownership created by the thoughts (whether they are subtle or apparent) creates the illusion of separation. That some appearances in awareness are “mine” and other appearances (like the bird chirping) are the “other” or “outside of me”.

(mind blown!)

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby gondwana » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:03 pm

Never, the thoughts are an ersatz experience.
Excellent, clearly seen.

So this is an important area, which I don’t believe is taught in the Finders Course.

What has just been seen, is that thought is not real. We experience them, yes, so we could say they do happen, but they have no substance and hence no true reality. It was seen that they can never be a substitute for reality.

All thought can do, is describe (poorly) actual experience, or talk more about other thoughts..and other thoughts.....and other thoughts..ad infinitum.

If the only place the “self” exists is in thoughts, what does this then mean for the “self”?
While I was meditating today I realized that all sensory experience: touching , tasting, feeling, hearing, seeing are also being non-verbally labeled with an owner and a doer!

Also, body sensations are being non-verbally labeled as coming from “my” body. The appearance of the body is being labeled as “my body”.

We do not own (or do) any of this. Not the heart beating, the body sensations, not the tasting, feeling, hearing, seeing, the appearance of the body. NOTHING!

There are all just appearances in awareness. Just like the birds and crickets chirping.

It is all ONE experience. The illusion of ownership created by the thoughts (whether they are subtle or apparent) creates the illusion of separation. That some appearances in awareness are “mine” and other appearances (like the bird chirping) are the “other” or “outside of me”.

(mind blown!)
Yes :). Perfectly seen! That was about 5 of the exercises we would normally go through one at a time, haha.

Keep looking at those things some more. Look deeply. Write back what is seen.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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Re: Hello from Boston, looking to stabilize into 'no self'!

Postby apmfree » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:43 pm

Hi Tim,

OK, give me another day to dive and look deeper. Will write back soon! :)


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