Please point me to the truth

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MariaNi
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Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:07 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand that there is the possibility that what I understand as 'self' is a belief and not the reality.
What are you looking for at LU? I want to know what is the reality and if what I call as 'self' does not exist, I want to know it and I'm willing to question this if it is a belief. I hope that LU can help me find out. I am looking for guidance, and I am willing to follow the instructions by the letter.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be guided to see reality for what it is. I hope that my guide will help me find out and he/she will be responsive. I am willing to trust this person and I hope that they will know what they are doing and that we will be able to work well together.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I started meditating a couple of years ago. Last October, I attended my first Vipassana retreat. The experience was eye-opening and quite challenging. The thoughts in my head were going crazy, it was as if a war was going on. I witnessed my dysfunctional mind in all its glory. It took me about a month afterward to recover. I didn't keep up with the practice. My meditation practice was mostly focusing on music. I did meditate regularly though, for at least an hour every day. My meditation sometimes included visualization, I also practiced channeling and automatic writing. Beginning of April, I attended again another Vipassana retreat, this time as a server. I was the student manager, ie. the point of contact between the teacher and the student. This was yet another interesting experience as I got to talk to the teacher and had some insights in terms of how the mind tends to react to things. I also realized I'm not as generous or humble as I thought I was. Since April, I've been practicing Vipassana every day. From an hour to an hour and 40 minutes. I also add about 10 minutes of relaxation.
Meditation has helped me a lot with stress and seeing things a bit more clearly about myself and other people.
I have suffered in the past from depression, anxiety, bulimia, and suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, I'm in a much better place now. Things, in general, are going well in my life. However, especially after the Vipassana retreat, I've seen more clearly some of the dysfunctional patterns of my mind and honestly I am fed up. If there is a way out of this madness, I want to know. I want to know the truth whatever that may be. I have read many spiritual books, over the past two years that have helped ease my suffering and provided some meaning in my life but I'm at a point in my life where I want to know the truth for myself and I'm more than eager to follow whatever instructions and guidance you can give me. I do feel a bit of fear perhaps but I also feel excitement and joy at this prospect, but I also want to keep my hopes low in case this doesn't work. Thank you in advance for all the help you can give me.

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

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:53 pm

Hello MariaNi,

Yes, I will be happy to assist you in exploring the illusion of the ‘separate self’. I can only point the way but you have to see it for yourself. That is why we are described as guides and not teachers. If you haven't already read the disclaimer, please read it now. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Also please read “Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

Please learn to use the quote function. When replying to a question, please use the quote function to highlight the question being answered. Instructions are located in the link below:

http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660
Just let me know that you have read the disclaimer, the FAQ's and we can then start the exploration.

Thanks

Michael

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:06 pm

Hello Michael,

Thank you very much for being my guide! I confirm that I read the disclaimer, FAQs, and how to use the quote function.
I’m ready to start! :)

Many thanks,
Maria

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:28 pm

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your swift reply.

If you think you are ready, let us begin. Firstly, do relax and when looking at experience look with an attitude of kindness, allow the heart to look

I will question any patterns, assumptions or confusions that I see but please don't think! Try to just look at your experience.

To this end it is often recommended to not read Dharma / spiritual books or watch 'spiritual' videos while engaged in this inquiry so outside ideas do not colour your direct experience.

Crucial to your looking is having the right attitude and this is what we will now address.

I would like you to do two things please:

Firstly, can you identify what your expectations are and briefly write them for me.

And

Secondly, can you also tell me any reservations, fears, or possible obstacles that may hinder you.

We will then address whatever comes up which will be a bit like emptying the cup.

The aim is so that you begin looking with a sense of open curiosity free from preconceptions of any kind. Also, as we are doing, let’s try and post every day and if we are unable to for a couple of days out of consideration let’s notify each other accordingly. That way we can create a continuity and momentum.

Enjoy.

Michael

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:01 am

Hi Michael,

Thank you again for getting back to me. I have written down your instructions and I'll do my best to follow them.
Regarding your questions:
Firstly, can you identify what your expectations are and briefly write them for me.
My expectation is that I doubt that I can make it. It seems to me like I will need to lift a mountain. And if I make it in the end, it seems that my world as I know it will collapse and I won't know who I am or what to do in life. Had you asked me this two days ago, probably the answer would have been different, but let me get to your second question now and I'll explain.
Secondly, can you also tell me any reservations, fears, or possible obstacles that may hinder you.
I was traveling yesterday and my flight was delayed for over 6 hours so I downloaded the enlightening quotes app and then read some excerpts from there and then I went to Ilona's blog, I don't remember how I found it but I read the Step 1 she recommended. According to the Step 1, I had to write down this sentence (I translated it in Greek so that it really hits home, so perhaps it is slightly different from the original version now that I translated it back to English) " There is no separate self in reality. No manager, no agent, no one who watches, no one who owns life. What exists is life that flows like a movement'.
And I tried to fathom what this means and I just couldn't and I still can't. The main sentence that would come to me again and again is 'How is this even possible?'. If I could show you my notepad, you would see this question written a few times. Till now, I still find it absurd. How can I not be in control of my life or my choices? Who studied? Who travels? Who chooses whether to follow a thought or not or act on a thought or not? And after these questions, I would have fear coming in. I'm really scared, scared and sad at the same time. Now that I'm writing this reply to you, I have tears coming down my eyes and I just don't understand. If this is true, if indeed there is no self, then what kind of joke is this? What kind of joke does the universe plays on us when we fail to see something so fundamental? Throughout my life, I see concepts that I once held falling apart and me standing there in awe, wondering why did this have to be there in first place? Why all this conditioning and why all this confusion if all in the end is well in the world?
Anyway, I'll stop now. I'm sorry for the rant. I'll do as you said and I'm more than happy to post every day and see if there is a any progress.

Many thanks,
Maria

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:35 am

Hi Michael,

I feel better today than yesterday. I guess at an intellectual level I understand what it means not to have a self since I don't produce my thoughts or feelings, it could be that the self is a construct too.
Anyway, today I walked a bit on the beach and as I sat down I tried to be present and focused my attention on the waves and the landscape and the sensations. It was nice, but I couldn't do more than 5-7 minutes. My attention would then drift back to thoughts, but in general it was relaxing. Is this what you mean by looking directly at the experience? Stay more to the present moment?

Thank you!
Maria

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:44 pm

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your posts.

My expectation is that I doubt that I can make it. It seems to me like I will need to lift a mountain. And if I make it in the end, it seems that my world as I know it will collapse and I won't know who I am or what to do in life.
This is understandable. We are used to the idea of solitary meditation for 20yrs in a cave as a requirement for awakening. LU (Ilona and Elena) have found a much more effective way that shortens it by about 20 yrs and doesn't require a cave!

So no caves and no mountain lifting. What is required is an open and curious exploration of experience. It can in fact be very easy.

There is no separate self in reality. No manager, no agent, no one who watches, no one who owns life. What exists is life that flows like a movement'.
And I tried to fathom what this means and I just couldn't and I still can't.
No, well noticed. It cannot be fathomed / understood by the thinking mind. Well done. (You are already underway!).
Till now, I still find it absurd. How can I not be in control of my life or my choices? Who studied? Who travels? Who chooses whether to follow a thought or not or act on a thought or not? And after these questions, I would have fear coming in. I'm really scared, scared and sad at the same time. Now that I'm writing this reply to you, I have tears coming down my eyes and I just don't understand. If this is true, if indeed there is no self, then what kind of joke is this? What kind of joke does the universe plays on us when we fail to see something so fundamental? Throughout my life, I see concepts that I once held falling apart and me standing there in awe, wondering why did this have to be there in first place?
It is the cosmic joke. It is all just occurring without a manager / controller etc.
I guess at an intellectual level I understand what it means not to have a self since I don't produce my thoughts or feelings, it could be that the self is a construct too.
Exactly. Thoughts and feelings are just arising - they are not produced by a 'you'. That is the illusion you are / will be seeing through.

There is not a lot of theory that we need to get going, however, it is worth just mentioning what I mean by 'direct experience', since this is going to be a recurring theme.

When I use the term 'direct experience', I mean immediate sense experience (what is seen, felt, heard etc right here and now) and also thoughts as immediately experienced.

So for example "I am hungry" is a judgement, not a description of direct experience.

On the other hand, "There is a hard ache in my stomach, and thoughts about food and the possibility of eating keep arising" is describing some of the direct experience involved in being hungry.

So as a warm-up exercise, can you write a few lines to convey some of your direct experience as you (I assume) sit in front of your computer now? (Like how you were on the beach).

Enjoy,

Michael.

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:29 am

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your replies. They are encouraging. Ok, so back to the warm-up exercise.
So as a warm-up exercise, can you write a few lines to convey some of your direct experience as you (I assume) sit in front of your computer now? (Like how you were on the beach).
I feel the sensations in my fingertips as I'm typing this message and my left palm touching the keyboard. I see the letters as they appear one by one on the screen and I feel my glasses as they contact my nose. I hear a little bird singing outside. I also hear the sound the keyboard makes as I type as well as the sound of the airconditioning. I also feel my eyelids heavy. There are also thoughts coming about what to write next.

Is this what you were asking me to do?

Many thanks,
Maria

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:22 pm

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your post.

I keep forgeting - At the bottom of the page is a spanner symbol please click on it and select 'email notifications' and then we will get email notifications of our postings. It is really helpful.

Yes that is it. I need to know that you can be in direct experience - which you can. All the looking is done in DE. Some folk sadly are completely lost in thought and can't really feel experience directly.


You have a good basis to start from so let's get underway!

Sitting quietly somewhere, become aware of the six senses, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and whatever is passing through the mind.

Focusing on sight say to yourself,
'I am seeing - a table, wall, lamp, whatever it is.

Then with sound 'I am hearing - traffic, the fridge' or whatever.
'I am touching - the floor, cushion, chair' as occurs.

Smell and taste are obviously subtler so don’t worry if you don’t notice anything and we'll come to questions directly about thoughts later.

Then do just the same without the 'I'

'Seeing table'
'Hearing a dog'.
'Smelling incense' etc
What happens when you drop the notion or label "I"

Enjoy!


Michael

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:41 am

Hi Michael,

Thank you for the exercise.
What happens when you drop the notion or label "I"
I did the exercise. I wrote down on my notepad everything I hear, see, smell and taste and feel and then dropped the 'I'. What happened is that I noticed more continuity in what I was describing and perhaps a sense of lightness. As if I'm not as responsible for what I'm describing compared to when I use the 'I'.
At the bottom of the page is a spanner symbol please click on it and select 'email notifications' and then we will get email notifications of our postings.
Done :)

Many thanks,
Maria

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:48 pm

Hi Maria,

Thanks,

Not sure how you did that because you describe writing.

Try the exercise in a more meditative way.

So sit down in a chair or on a cushion, let go of past and future, relax, breathe and simply allow experience to occur (it can't be stopped).

Note that you see a chair, hear a bird, and say this (silently) to yourself; 'I feel an itch', 'I can hear a bird' etc. Then pause and just 'be' for a moment or two and then just note appearances as they arise, 'chair, 'fridge motor' 'bird' etc.

What happens when you drop the 'I' notion?

Is anyone seing a chair, hearing a bird etc or are they just appearances occuring?

Enjoy,

Kevin.

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:19 am

Hi Michael,

I thought I had to note these down literally! Hehe never mind!
So, I did the exercise as you suggested.
When I dropped the ‘I’ it was easier to describe.
I don’t know about whether there is someone experiencing this or if these are just appearances occurring. There must be someone/something there being aware of these experiences. Someone or something lives in this body and is aware of it and these experiences, right? But to be honest, I don’t know who it is or what it is. Reading these words I just wrote I realise I’ve been living in this body for the past 33 years and I can’t answer this simple question. Of course, I can tell you it’s me experiencing life, but apart from concepts like my name, my physical appearance, my ancestry etc, I can’t define who ‘me’ is.

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:58 pm

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your post.
I don’t know about whether there is someone experiencing this or if these are just appearances occurring.
Ok, so repeat. Play around with it.

Is there anyone hearing a bird or is there just birdsound occurring?

There must be someone/something there being aware of these experiences. Someone or something lives in this body and is aware of it and these experiences, right?
Wrong!!

What you have done there is describe the inquiry you have undertaken.

The common ASSUMPTION (the one you have been brought up with ever since your parent/s repeated your name at you until you identified with it) is that there is a separate self 'inside' having all these experiences.

But is there?

The inquiry works by me giving you ways to find the self if it is there. You keep searching but you won't be able to find it. Eventually you see that it really isn't there. That is awakening.

Of course, I can tell you it’s me experiencing life.
Can you really tell me that there is a 'you' experiencing life?


If that is true please explain what or where it is.

Apart from concepts like my name, my physical appearance, my ancestry etc, I can’t define who ‘me’ is
No, because it isn't there.

However 'define' is a way of thinking whereas you need to simply look into your direct experience in the moment (whatever can be felt with senses or is being thought in the moment).

So. You are hopefully now clearer about what you are doing (trying to actually find the self you assume is there) so please answer the questions above and play around with the excercise some more.

Great. I have a feeling you are underway now. :-)

Michael

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MariaNi
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MariaNi » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:31 am

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reply. Here are my answers:
Is there anyone hearing a bird or is there just birdsound occurring?
I did the exercise again last night and this noon. It seems to me now that the word 'I' is indeed redundant.
These experiences happen. I was then wondering how about movement? Who moves my hands or feet? If I say I don't want to move them, I won't move them. My body reacts to my instructions. I give the instructions, I direct it somehow. Same with the keyboard right now. I have a stream of thoughts and my fingertips press the keyboard accordingly. So, something directs my mind and body to do this.
The common ASSUMPTION (the one you have been brought up with ever since your parent/s repeated your name at you until you identified with it) is that there is a separate self 'inside' having all these experiences. But is there?
This is a good point, I hadn't thought about this before. But if there isn't a separate self, are we just the product of programming? And what about all these spiritual books that talk about past lives and a soul that progresses through lifetimes. If we are nothing, then these theories are not correct?
Can you really tell me that there is a 'you' experiencing life?
If that is true please explain what or where it is.
I can't tell you that. I mean, there is a body that experiences things and gets through life, there's a mind that has the thoughts and the feelings and then there's something else that I can't define. I want to say that the latter is the one that lives. If this goes away, then the body won't move and the mind won't work.
However 'define' is a way of thinking whereas you need to simply look into your direct experience in the moment (whatever can be felt with senses or is being thought in the moment).
Ok.

Also, another question I have, when you talk about awakening, should I have some kind of a profound experience?

Thank you!
Maria

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MichaelD
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Re: Please point me to the truth

Postby MichaelD » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:26 pm

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your post.

Is there anyone hearing a bird or is there just birdsound occurring?


I did the exercise again last night and this noon. It seems to me now that the word 'I' is indeed redundant.
These experiences happen.
Exactly, these experiences just happen. Well done.

Please consolidate this with other senses - it is a very important insight.

So, something directs my mind and body to do this.
Really?

What mind?, what body?, what directs?

Please try not to think but stay with looking.

This is a good point, I hadn't thought about this before. But if there isn't a separate self, are we just the product of programming? And what about all these spiritual books that talk about past lives and a soul that progresses through lifetimes. If we are nothing, then these theories are not correct?
These are some of the big questions. You will only get the answers to them by looking. Here again you are just thinking. It really doesn't help. And just as a reminder - yes most stuff in spiruitual books is drivel / mistaken so please leave aside all reading of spiritual book, Youtube guru videos and all the rest of it for the duration of your inquiry. They will only cause confusion.
Can you really tell me that there is a 'you' experiencing life?
If that is true please explain what or where it is.
I can't tell you that. I mean, there is a body that experiences things and gets through life, there's a mind that has the thoughts and the feelings and then there's something else that I can't define. I want to say that the latter is the one that lives. If this goes away, then the body won't move and the mind won't work.

'Define' is thinking. You aren't being asked to define anything. You are being asked to look directly and honestly at your experience exactly as it occurs. Nothing else.

When no-self is seen / awakening occurs it may be a big bang moment or it may creep up on you over a few hours or days. It is different for everyone. The important thing is that you:

1. Drop all expectations - so cultivate an open, curious, exploring attitude.

2. That you drop trying to think about experience, 'define' what is going on - so honestly look instead.

So for example as you sit and read this now are there feet? are there toes? how many toes?

So, drop ideas and feel / look.

Michael


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