looking for clarity

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:30 pm

It is clear that there is nothing happening that is not ok, there is nothing that should be different. There is no fundamental peace to be found in any "bad" or "good" events. A happily-ever-after of continuous "good" events would only be ugly. I hear you that the only peace to be found is in Being, that which is never absent.

Thoughts do periodically imagine altering this or that occurrence, "if only this traffic wasn't there!", but this makes no sense. It is a very partial imagining that does not see the whole. There is no a la carte choice in life, and there is no chooser to make such a choice. I am reasonably good at spotting such thinking now, and dropping it. But there are subtler versions I guess, like wanting to "understand suffering", set up an investigation, but secretly just trying to engineer a better set of feelings. You are saying that once this motive is seen clearly, that even the spiritual search can be trying to create a nicer set of feelings and sensations, but that these cannot give the peace of Being, then this false search is dropped. Seeing this motive and its futility is the "exit" you refer to.

I will watch out for all utterances of thought, especially those that pretend to "spiritual" motives. I will try to simply rest in Being, giving up "understanding" and more complicated strategies.

Right here right now I sat just noticing the sense of being, and it was very peaceful. Yesterday, there was some restlessness inside and I went and sat on a bench in a nature park, not to escape but to let things just be. The restlessness remained. I acknowledged that there was no promise of getting rid of it, but that I still could just stay with the sense of being, allowing the restlessness. Wishing away the restlessness would be going back to the trap. Ultimately, the restlessness felt intolerable and led me off the bench back home. So here the mind said "but it's not working, restlessness won't even let you rest in being". But wanting a result is still more of the false search.

I will continue to keep my attention on the unchanging. I accept that the ups and downs of changing circumstances have no peace to give.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:46 pm

I think I have to interpret "just rest in being" as follows.

There are moments in the day where the words "rest in being" speak clearly, and it simply happens. There is alert awareness, the thought-stories are seen for what they are and are dropped, and there is peace.

Such times ultimately end in the bubbling up of thoughts, then agitation, and then a feeling that I can't "rest in being". Then I remind myself that that beingness cannot disappear so I just have to tune into it, but at some point the pointer "rest in being" stops making sense and I stop.

At other times of restlessness or anxiety, the pointer "rest in being" somehow cannot penetrate at all, I just can't find that place within, even as I try to just see the restlessness from a place of being.

I think that in these latter two cases, where the "rest in being" pointer seems not to be possible, that "I just can't seem to rest in it!", this is the point at which I have to just let it go. Don't try to force the "resting" and don't try to substitute that with the desire to ease suffering masquerading as a spiritual search or inquiry into suffering or anything. When the pointer "rest in being" does not make sense, then I had better just leave it alone. That way thought and future are not enlisted as a means to happiness, I might seek comfort in this or that out of some feeling of torment but it won't be justified by some thought-story, and there is no battle of wills to "rest in being" which is of course absurd.

In summary, I interpret "just rest in being" as a pointer that is followed as often as possible, and is not agonized over or substituted with seeking when it is not possible. That way all future-oriented, goal-oriented activity is dropped. Because when one rests in being the reward is immediate, it is not a means to an end. When it is somehow not possible, there is no seeking by a "seeker".

So it seems the sanest thing to do is "rest in being **whenever possible**, and do nothing else". Does this makes sense to you?

Thanks!

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:37 am

Nice. Yes, resting is ceasing of all effort and fantasy.
Tuning into being is simply noticing that you are aware. Like this moment you are aware of reading these words.

As soon as you start intellectualising, resting becomes a task. But resting is not a task to do, it’s simply noticing.

And yes, as often as remembered, as deeply as it happens. Notice, that you are already free. All that changes comes and goes freely and you are free to experience all.

The comfort is here. Discomfort is in the mind, when it fights what is or wants something else. What does the mind prefer? The comfort or the fight?

Love.
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:07 pm

Freedom now and "freedom tomorrow" sound similar, but they are very different. Resting in being is freedom now. It happens in the absence of thought or when thought is itself seen but not believed. One of the thoughts can be "I must practice this or that to get freedom tomorrow, I must get better at it over time, I have to understand more to get there", but if this thought is believed it is the very action that obscures freedom now. It is a fantasy. Anticipation of things getting better in the future goes hand in hand with anticipating problems in the future, at the root of fear. If you believe in one you are stuck with the other. The feeling "I must be good and work towards the future, spiritual salvation etc" and the guilt when one is not doing this can all be dropped, and that is itself a relief.

I understand what you say about tuning into being as noticing awareness is there. There is also the sense of letting oneself sink as deeply as one can into the allowing without resistance, sinking into the sea of sensations.

I still experience discomfort, the mind can still be very active and projects lots of problems in the future. And these mind-storms come and go. My outer circumstances bob up and down too. No peace can be found by trying to permanently escape all this, although temporarily things might go your way. The only constant in life is Being and therefore peace can only be there.

You asked, does the mind prefer the comfort of Being or the fight of resistance? By habit, it knows only a little of the comfort of being, and it is constantly engaged in the fight of resistance. Only in our dialogues have I come to really see these as two possibilities, because the latter has taken up so much of my life. Resistance still operates a lot in me. But as I write, this mind would very much prefer the comfort of Being, rather than the machine-gun fantasies involved in resistance, to drop the habits of a lifetime. (As a matter of pure fun and pretence, I do like resistance and a good fight in a game or competition, but not to be taken seriously.)

So these resistant behaviors still arise from time to time in the day. But now I notice what I can, and suffer what I believe. But I feel it is so much simpler to have only one move to make, fall into being now, not practice for the future.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:26 am

Being open and noticing, being aware is the natural state of the mind. It is safe to be expanded, formless and aware of whatever is happening.

See if the mind would like to release and dissolve into spaciousness? It can be at peace, if it wants. It can still be creative and wondering while free and relaxed. See if it like to live this way? And is it ready for it? Now?

Love
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:26 pm

Thank you! Who else would put such questions to me?

Yes, the mind would like to release and dissolve into spaciousness. Free, creative and relaxed.

I only have brief intimations of this, so your question to me really translates into would my mind like to leave behind its old ways of fear and hopes for tomorrow, doingness, and frantic thought activity on behalf of a separate self. Leave all this behind, not fully knowing what follows? Yes, it would like to leave all this behind, even though it trembles to not know what follows.

Would the mind like to dissolve into spaciousness, even if there is a chance that outward circumstances for the character improve, that there are "fame, fortune, friends, family" in the future? Is it willing to let go even to these, or only to suffering and fear? Yes, it is willing to let go, because at the root of demanding these things is the needinessd, it is the insensitivity to the whole, only scanning for one's pleasures.

It is ready, now.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:03 pm

Wonderful. Just take a deep breath and feel into it. Whatever energy is present. No need to name or manipulate it, just feel it openly and freely. It is free to dissolve already.

Say yes to that and breathe.
That’s it.

It is safe to be at rest and witness what is happening.

Time to rest.

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:17 pm

Ok, I took that breath.

There were no trumpets blaring, and no feeling of death. I understand that those moments of expanded, formless awareness are the peace itself, not a means to some other goal. It is not a continuous state for me, but I will not seek something else in the "future". Those moments are not yet integrated into life's activities. But I recognize that the letting go and allowing is always available now. I do not feel I have some other agenda, or that I am waiting on outer circumstances to deliver anything to me. My life's troubles enter my head often, but I do not ask them to go away as a means to happiness.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:31 am

Lovely. Now I can see that something has relaxed.

Are there any more burning questions?

Love
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:51 pm

No, no more burning questions.

Thanks!

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:10 pm

Wonderful. Can you say with a big fat yes, that it’s clear that the illusion of a separate self has been seen through?
What is the biggest difference in daily Life?
Has a shift of perception happened? Can you say when?

Love.
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:37 pm

The separate self is the central character in a thought-story that arises as a kind of hypnotic trance periodically. In that trance, the fate of this separate self feels real and like it really matters, a combination of thoughts and bodily sensations. Such trances still happen several times a day.

Previously, even when I emerged from such a trance, and saw that I was just having thoughts about the “separate self”, the next thought was often “yes, these were only thoughts, but they are speaking about what likely WILL happen in the future, and you will suffer then!”, and in this way the thought-feeling of a separate self was revived yet again, and the reality of “the future” was still felt.

Two key changes occurred in this pattern. First, I traded the word “happiness” for the word “peace”. These words have slightly different flavors for me, happiness feels more related to getting what I want, whereas peace seems compatible with something beyond wanting. I recognized that I no longer really wanted outward circumstances to dictate my sense of peace, so even if I feared bad circumstances in the future, why should it matter if I am really after peace regardless of circumstances. So this severed the connection between the first paragraph and the second. When I emerge from a trance, thinking about the future of the separate self, I can see that it doesn’t matter what happens in the future as far as peace is concerned. The future seems less real or important. When I emerge from the trances the separate self is seen to be a fiction. When the trances arise, the separate self is taken seriously.

The other change is the clear recognition, that there is no “peace in the future”, those are just more thoughts. Peace can be had now to the extent that one dissolves into being. In this way, one cannot save up a guarantee of peace for tomorrow, but instead experiences peace right now. The hypnotic fearful trances come and go, but since I am more committed to peace than to having a “good future”, the fears do not feed on each other and gain strength. A major change in life is that there is much less fear. Sometimes, the feeling of being restless or unhappy won’t leave, and this used to give rise to the thought that “I’m not getting it”, but now it is seen that there is no future goal to be working towards, and one can just let the restlessness or unhappiness be, no need to spawn more anxious thoughts. In summary, there is peace now or not at all. There are no spiritual goals for the future. Because I have less of a sense that there is anything to protect, I now give much less weight to what thoughts say, and I do not believe that thoughts and plans are the way to happiness.

Whatever changes have happened in me, have not happened in one shot. But I think a recent major change occurred when you pointed to the only peace being that of being, combined with your reminding me that outer circumstances will not have a “happy ending”. You’ve been saying this all along, but something clicked recently. If there is no happy ending from outer circumstances then what is the point of worrying about the future, it will have its ups and downs. Who cares about the thoughts of the future?! I think I was still carrying the idea that at least I could work towards spiritual enlightenment in the future, and then there would be a happy ending, but there was the misery of “not getting it”, and having “a long road ahead”. But recently, I saw that even this spiritual goal is a “happy ending” of sorts, as false as all the others, just a thought associated to the separate self who would get enlightened. So, seeing that the future was not where the action is, I returned to the present. Either peace is right here right now, or it is nowhere. So just take the peace right now. But how? You’ve been pointing all along to allowing and feeling everything that arises. Something in me thought that this was a means to an end, I practice this and then I get rewarded in the future. But once I saw that the future was false, the only possibility was that the allowing of everything was the reward itself, the peace of being.

You mentioned recently the phrase, “dissolving into being”, and that spoke to me about the nature of allowing and relaxing deeply. I have been doing this whenever possible, and I see that when there is only being, there is peace. It is not a permanent state for me and trances come and go. I am sick right now, and I have tried to feel out the pain and discomfort of it. When there is total allowing of it, there is peace, there is no one to say that I am suffering an illness. But thoughts and feeling do arise in resistance, and then the feeling “I suffer” arises too.

This is where I am. I have no burning questions because it seems like dissolving into being NOW is the whole thing, the answer to every question I had. The future holds nothing of value.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:59 am

Dear arus, it’s delightful to read your words. I see that something has clicked and the tone and energy of your writing is different.

Here are some questions for you to wrap this up.

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it ufully as you see it now.

3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

5) Can you talk about decision, intention, free will, choice and control? What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.

6) Anything to add?

Please answer in full, when ready.

Much love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:08 am

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

In direct experience there is no separate entity, and never has been, in any shape or form. It is not there in the raw experience composed of of sensations, emotions, thoughts.

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.

A kind of "separate self" arises from the interpretation of experience by thought. From the raw kaleidoscope of colors and shapes HERE and NOW, thought pieces together an “outside” space and time and external objects. I can turn off and on this interpretive thought as I sit here: kaleidoscope – room of things – kaleidoscope – room of things…. When I interpret the room, it is seen from a certain perspective. This perspective traces back to a viewing vantage point, which moves about in the room. This is one form of a separate self, a central viewpoint from which experience is interpreted in space and time. It appears to be clothed in a body. Armed with this interpretation, we can plan on this self-body catching a plane or going grocery shopping. This self-body is like a dot on a GPS screen indicating your position, it is not YOU, it is a representation that allows one to navigate. It seems to have some utility in this regard.

I have used the word “thought” in the above two answers to questions 1) and 2), first saying there is no separate entity in thoughts, and then saying that there IS a separate entity in the interpretations of thought. This is not contradictory. There is no Santa Claus in the book (paper and printed words) entitled “The Night Before Christmas”. And yet the interpretation of the words of the book is all about Santa Claus.

More and more thoughts attach to this spatio-temporal “self-body”, and more and more feelings resonate with those thoughts, making this increasingly imaginary separate self seem increasingly real. The thought-stories surrounding this character have taken on greater and greater significance, and it is interpreted that this self-body is “me”, which is to say that it is of absolute importance, and yet in the world that thought has assembled this self-body can be only temporarily protected, but is ultimately totally vulnerable. It appears as if the other bodies seen as objects in the world “out there” must also be viewpoint centers, their own separate selves. Even if this viewpoint self-body were to die, it seems that the spatio-temporal outside world will continue without it. One can imagine the world turning while my self-body lies dead on the ground. These are all imaginings.

This aggrandized self-body has a past and a future, goals and guilt, virtues and vices, triumphs and disasters. I spend a lot of time mesmerized by the thought-stories of this separate self, planning and anxious over its fate. At first, when the challenge to this whole way of viewing the world arises, one attempts to drop it. But thoughts quickly reassemble the pieces of direct experience into the story in which the fate of the separate self is absolutely important. Here is a key thought that keeps it going, holding belief hostage: “Do no doubt the reality and importance of the separate self, if you do the separate self will fail and there will be no recovering from it.” When this thought arises, the illusion is felt more tightly, and off the thought-stories go again.

3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.

When I see all this machinery of the illusion, it is so puzzling, yet so fascinating, so frustrating because in many ways I remain subject to the coming and going of illusion, so daunting because I see how thought lies hidden at every turn posturing as reality. There is the impulse to stay very still, watching thought, seeing whether I am falling under its hypnotic spell, mistaking its story for reality.

In the last few days, the thoughts of a separate self, in some form or another, come and go. But they cannot stick around much before they short circuit into pure looking. They are less believed, and believed for less time. Before our dialogs, they were more believed, and belief seemed essential for the well being of the separate self, and the well being of the separate self seemed all important. A kind of vicious cycle. Now, I feel there is a break in the cycle’s ability to feed on itself.

But I must state that the peace of being is typically short lived in any period. Other thoughts arise to distract, “I’m bored, I can’t keep this up”, and at some point the vigilance ends and a cycle of TV-like distraction, distraction of other activities or thought-stories follows. But the peace of being is always available again as soon as I want it and tune in to it.

In the last few days, I was pretty sick, and even staying close to the here and now, there was the intensity of the physical pain. I would periodically, settle to allow it in as fully as possible, to feel wordlessly what the pain consisted of. There was a kind of peace at the root of this. But again, thoughts would ultimately take me away, into some distraction, but was then later led back to the pain felt as suffering. Then, I would return to intense looking at and allowing of the pain again. Repeat.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

Two key observations that occurred recently:

Even before thought has started up its interpretative function on the kaleidoscope of experience, this kaleidoscope of experience is there. It is primary and all else is interpretation. It is Being, and in it there is felt the peace of Being. This peace is not built on the separate self in the thought interpreted story, it is an aspect of the primary reality, when the entire engine of thought is not grinding away at full steam. As long as I believed in happiness as the goal, I overlooked the peace of Being or thought that it was just the “first step” to happiness. So it took the right moment, only a few posts ago, when you told me to settle into the peace of being, that that word “peace” resonated with its true meaning. “Happiness” is such a tiring word, and I am always failing at it. But “peace” is utterly relaxing, and by relaxing the interpretative thoughts one succeeds in having this peace. Ultimately, I am willing to end the journey at peace, nothing more is required. Others may have spiritual fireworks, or prizes in the outer world, and these do sound mighty tempting, but I will settle for peace and the absence of fear.


(ii) It is not my purpose to have the separate self enjoy a better future, better circumstances according to the world of interpretation, tilting its fate to having more “ups” than “downs”. Once I see this, I can relax my grip on the anxious protection of this separate self. I can afford to doubt its existence. I can even afford to let it dissolve. I can spend less time chewing on its “future”. Once this was seen, there has been much less room or purpose for fear.

So (i) is the way of approaching the here and now, returning to the peace of Being whenever possible. (ii) is the observation that downgrades the future, and hence fear and ambition: seeing there is nothing of value there, certainly not the peace of being, and that the fears of the future, if they arrive in the present can be allowed in fully where they cannot threaten peace. The only threats are in thought, not the reality of being. The seeing of both (i) and (ii) together has brought some peace and absence of deep fear. This is what I can report so far.

Compared to the beginning of our dialog, there is less fear, more a recognition of the peace of Being, more a recognition of the secondary thought-interpreted nature of any separate self, less emphasis on past and future. There is still an underlying current of restlessness and discomfort. I allow it in to be seen without interpretation whenever I can, and at other times distraction wins out.

5) Can you talk about decision, intention, free will, choice and control? What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.

It has been clear for some time that the ideas of free will, choice, control, decision, responsibility don’t quite make sense, or at least they require some major qualification. All these words imply an external agent making changes to the flow of life, in particular a separate self with its own will. There is no such separate self. The puzzle is to understand why there is the illusion of free will, choice and control.

It is sometimes pointed out that our hearts go pumping away at different rates at different times, without our interference. So we can’t say that I “choose to beat my heart”, it just happens. But why when I go to the kitchen do I seem to “decide” that I want a cookie and not a banana. In a sense it is partly language. Even an car with automatic transmission could be said to “decide” to change gears at some point, but really it is just responding to a number of external factors and its design. So it is with the decision whether to have the cookie or banana.

But in the case of the cookie or banana, or whether to take the exciting new job or stick with the security of the old job, there seems to be a kind of unpredictability to what one will “decide” to do, a kind of hesitancy. This is the essence of the feeling “I am deciding”, where one really feels the “I” that hesitates and decides. Even this kind of hesitancy I have felt in my body “deciding” when to vomit when it has a stomach virus. And yet, in that case it is clear there is no “decider”, just the body, heaving up and down, but it does have the kind of unpredictability we associate with “free will”.

So, there is no separate “me” making “independent decisions”. All is happening in the interconnected flow of life, and magically there is an aliveness that feels this flow. This flow includes all the decisions, all the thoughts “Should I? Shouldn’t I?”. And there is no responsibility, there is no separate one who could be responsible, and there is no free will that we can blame for its actions. Things could not be any other way than they are. Only in thought’s partial view can it play a movie where “I could have done the other thing instead”, without changing the entire flow of the universe.

6) Anything to add?

I think I have said everything I feel. But to summarize. I am not going much into past or future nowadays. Staying present, there are moments of dipping into the peace of Being. There are also periods of seeking out distraction from uncomfortable feelings. At the right moment, there is again the dropping of thought/distraction and dissolving into just viewing the kaleidoscope of sensations.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:20 am

Dear Arus.
Thank you for answering all these questions.
Nice to hear that you are more present, dipping into the being. And of course, distractions and uncomfortable feelings will continue to arise to be seen. It’s a process.
How are you feeling these last few days?

Would you say that our conversation has ran it’s course?
Are you noticing seeking still happening?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com


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