Who am I?

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Micha2019
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Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:41 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I have a false sense of self, of who I am. This sense is physically (the sensations of the body and the image of the body) and mentally (my thinking). Who I really am is the awareness of all this. I am not my mindbody but the consiousness in which this mindbody and everything else I experience is contained.

What are you looking for at LU?
A lasting experiential realization of who or what I truly am, consiousness. And loosing the identification with my bodymind in the sense that I stop experiencing my bodymind as primarily who I am. I partly have a rational understanding of all this, but I am really seeking to live it, to feel or experience it.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Practical guidance in self inquiry and feedback on what I do and experience during practice (and perhaps guidance in how I can apply inquiry or nondualism in daily life, as a way of practice). Apart from reading about it and listening to teachers I have never gotten personal feedback on what and how I practice, so that may be helpful. Also, I am a thinker, very analyical, I like the philosofy and like to analyse. But that can get in the way of practice, of being fully open, so I probably need some feedback on that as well; I mean to hear someone’s idea about how I use my thinking in my self inquiry, and in how far that is useful.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been meditating daily for 15-20 minutes since 8 years. The first 5-6 years mainly mindfulness meditation/vipassana. The last years I started with self-inquiry. I was mostly guided in that by teachings, exercises and tantra meditations of Rupert Spira. The last half a year or so I have practiced Ramana Maharsi’s way of self-inquiry (who am I) and Nissargadarta’s suggestion of resting in the feeling/sense of I am. I have increased this practice to half an hour to 2 hours per day while sitting. Also I try to practice when I am out, to see things differently.
In the last 5 years I have been going to 1 or 2 meditation retreats per year, mostly vipassana-like, and a few of Rupert Spira. At the moment I am travelling through Asia while going in and out of retreats/ashrams, but unfortunately those are seldom directed at inquiry, which I would like to focus fully on from now on.

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

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Micha2019
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:06 pm

Someone replied yesterday (the post is gone, but I’ll try to answer anyway). He asked, I think, what I think is in my way of experiencing the real Self. I think that is my identification with my thoughts and body; as long as I experience them as being me, there seems no possibility to experience me as something else. When I inquire and the sense of the body disappears or the identification with the sense of the body disappears, then there is still a me that is doing the inquiry with which I identify - that latter me seems to be in the way.

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Ilona
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:41 pm

Hi Micha2019,

Welcome to the forum. Thank you for the intro and patience waiting for a guide.
Here I am, to assist you.
We can have a conversation and see where it takes you. All that is needed is full honesty and willingness to answer your own questions from your own experience.

We can start by this one question-
What are you really looking for?

Looking forward to our journey
Love.

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Micha2019
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:48 pm

Hi Ilona,

Nice to meet you and thank you for starting this conversation with me. After my subscription I have been reading Gateless Gatecrachers and working with the questions asked there. That already helped me a lot.

So, what am I really looking for? That would be a constant experiencing of who I really am, a loss of identification with my bodymind. Or perhaps I should say a loss of PRIMARILY identifying with my bodymind. For as for now, I cannot imagine being completely unidentified with it.

In very recent glimpses in which I did not identify with my bodymind, I saw emotions coming up and going down immediately when I was merely aware of them. That would also be a state I am looking for - no attachment to emotions, but still experiencing them. And seeing the wholeness, or non-separateness in everything which I saw in another glimpse. That also might be a nice addition. But perhaps these last things are rather outcomes of seeing what is real, than things to actively look for.

Love,
Micha


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Ilona
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:04 am

Thank you for reply.
So, what am I really looking for? That would be a constant experiencing of who I really am, a loss of identification with my bodymind. Or perhaps I should say a loss of PRIMARILY identifying with my bodymind. For as for now, I cannot imagine being completely unidentified with it.
Right, let’s find that which needs an identity. Where does identity stick to? What is that says “my identity”?
Who owns the body? And how do you know that the body is owned?

Look around, are there owners of bodies? For example does a cat or dog own the body?
What do you truly own?

Explore this and get back to me.

Love.

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Micha2019
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:18 am

Thank you so much, Ilona. I hope I did not type too much, just let me know if you rather have me summarize it:

Interesting: what says ‘my identity’? A quick answer is: the one that says ‘my identity’ is I, the identity itself. The identity which is identity has an identity; that makes no sense. So identity is an idea attached to what I feel is me. So nothing owns identity. Identity just is. But this is all logical thinking.

This all made me realize I never thought about what identity is/means. I think it is that which feels relatively constant to me, which I recognize as being always available, made up out of thoughts, emotions and a body. But it does not feel as stable as the ‘me’ which I think I am. I identify with this body and thoughts, but I do not identify so much with thoughts from the past and my younger body. However, the ‘me’ (the one I think I am) is the same as 20 years ago. So it feels like I identify with body and mind, but the I/me that does the identifying is different from body and mind. Although I cannot grasp that I. I hope you can follow.

When I say ‘I identity with my bodymind’, I mean that I think the bodymind is me. But there is also something that observes the body and the mind. What is this something, and does it own the bodymind? Logically speaking, it does not own the bodymind, just as much as it does not own anything else it observes. It just observes.

This bodymind I call Micha is always there, is very close to this observer. Whereas other bodies or objects are not always there or further away. That might be why it is this particular bodymind which I think is me. But then, who thinks that? That would be the bodymind again. The observer does not think anything.

Does the dog’s awareness own the dog’s body? I would say the dog owns his own body, but the dog may not have this idea of ownership. Also, it sounds strange to say the dog’s awareness is the owner, because I don’t know his awareness, don’t even know if it is there. So looking at the dog, I think the dog’s bodymind owns his bodymind. But that is the same dead-end road as with my self: there is no one to be an owner other than the thing that is owned.

And who is the owner of the body? If I look, there is no one there that owns. But at the same time I like to protect my body, I do not want anybody else to own my body. But I’m not sure who is the one who wants to keep it for himself.

So all your questions lead to a dead end: I am I, but there is nothing that has or owns this I. It owns itself, which is nonsense: if there is something to be owned, there needs to be an owner. But the owner and the owned are the same thing. I own my clothes, that makes sense. But I cannot own I, I can only be I.

Experientially, when I look for a owner, I can’t find one. But without looking carefully it just feels there is one.

You ask: what do you truly own? But who are you asking the question to? My ego or the real Self?

Are these the kind of answers you expect from me? Most of it feels very rational/logically to me. Not like I really ‘feel’ it.


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Ilona
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:42 am

Great work, thank you for taking time and exploring.
Yes, the point of this exercise is to see that all these questions lead to dead end. The ownership makes no sense.
You say you own your clothes. Ok, let’s look closer. What is that makes the clothes “mine”? What is that claims the clothes “my clothes”?
Does voice in the head, the commentator, owns the clothes?
Does voice in the head, thoughts, own the body mind?
Does though “mine” owns other thoughts?
Does word Micha owns body mind?
Does label on a coat own the coat?

Look closer and write what you notice.

Love.

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Micha2019
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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 am

Dear Ilona,

Thank you again. I feel like I do not have the perfect answer to your questions yet, but I will post what I came up with so far. Your questions stir up new questions in me as you will see, but I will try to stay focussed.

So what I call ‘I’ seems thoughts and body sensations. But also it feels like there is something else there. Like the whole (the ‘I’) is greater than the sum of the parts (body and thoughts). There seems something that is in control of thoughts and body. If ‘I’ is only thoughts, then how come the thoughts do not seem random, but organized?

If I look what claims my clothes, the only thing I find are the thoughts that say that they are mine. But these thoughts are there because they believe there is an I - so what is the I that these thoughts refer to? It feels like there is a sense of I that is independent of my thoughts. Perhaps it has to do with this body that is always here. But when I focus on the sensation of the body, this sensation is constantly changing, but the sense of I is not.

I can see that Micha is just a label given to a collection of thoughs, a body and an expression of these (I mean, others call me Micha but don’t see the thoughts). But I’m not sure if that excludes a possibility of a ‘me’: I can see when I say I or Micha, that I is just a thought which cannot own things because it has no substance. But perhaps that thought refers to something which is there but cannot be sensed. I mean, can’t I not exist of something else than thoughts, feelings or a body? In other words, isn’t there a sense of I that is independent of thoughts, feelings and a body?

You say the ‘commentator’. That is an interesting one, because that one is not really clearly present. I mean, I rarely consciously notice it. But now I start looking, and it is always there! Talking really softly, but at the same time it seems to contribute to this sense of self.

So to sum it up: my sense of self consists of body sensations and thoughts, and when I look at them the sense of self falls away. But there may be something else that my senses do not consciously pick up. However, the latter just might be the commentator...

With love
Tim


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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:41 am

Interesting, isn’t it?
So what does the word I actually point to? If you take a finger and land it on I, where does it land?
Can you see, smell, hear, taste, touch the i? Try it, with each sense.
And after that notice the sense of being, knowing that you are, knowing that you are aware right now.
Does that sense of being change or is it always here?
Do you need to do anything in order to be?
Do you need to think in order to be? And do you need to be someone or some way, in order to be?

Write what you notice.

Love.

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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:20 am

<So what does the word I actually point to? If you take a finger and land it on I, where does it land? >
It lands at my head, near the eyes. The eyes, or behind the eyes seems to be what I mostly feel as me. And other times it is near the heart, the place you point at when you say ‘me’.
If I just look at the word I, then it is just a thought and the thought is nowhere to be found, no location. The thought is gone after it stops sounding.

<Can you see, smell, hear, taste, touch the i? Try it, with each sense.>
Here I go to the body again and to my voice. That all seems to be me. If I take it one step further and ask myself who it is who sees, smells, etc., then that seems to be the same I as I described before - the I that lives in my head, near the eyes.

<And after that notice the sense of being, knowing that you are, knowing that you are aware right now.
Does that sense of being change or is it always here?>
This takes me out of my body; the body is now included in everything I notice, as one whole. The sense does not change: if I move my head, close and open my eyes, move my body, start talking... it is always the same, always there, quietly, unaffected by anything. And it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I mean, everywhere my attention is, and nowhere because it has no substance. Although it still feels like it has a source, which is my body.

Only when I sleep I am not sure it is there; I have heard teachers say that it actually is. But to me it is not there then. When I sleep I cannot tell myself to look for it. I am only aware of this sense when I purposefully go there.

<Do you need to do anything in order to be?>
To be, I don’t think so. But to be CONSCIOUSLY aware of being, I need to tell myself to look for it.

Do you need to think in order to be? And do you need to be someone or some way, in order to be?>
No need to think, although again, I need to tell myself (thus thinking) that I should look. Don’t need to be someone or some way, because being is one thing, and my bodymind which seems to be someone, is another thing. I think I need to be alive though, and that means my body and mind need to function in order to be, because I need them to be aware.

All day my practice has been to be aware of being; I noticed my mood improved by doing that and I was more spontaneous and loving to people. Just as soon as I started thinking about that, I sort of retracted back in the body.

Warmest
Micha


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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:54 am

Thank you for reply.
To be, I don’t think so. But to be CONSCIOUSLY aware of being, I need to tell myself to look for it.
Investigate this closer, is being not here, when you don’t look for it?
It’s a bit like watching a movie on a screen and being conscious of the screen. Screen is always there, movie can’t be playing without the screen. Either you look at the moving pictures or the screen or both, screen is here. Or not?
What is the i that tells myself to look?

Ok, there is a video that I like you to watch and see what you notice.
Do you need to look for being? Is it something that hides and needs to be found?

https://youtu.be/ab4XA685rxc

Have fun investigating :)
Love.

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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:48 am

Is being not here if I don’t look for it, you ask? That seems impossible to find out, because I can only tell if it is here when I am aware of it, and then I am always looking for it. But it is getting easier and easier to find it; sometimes I notice it directly after deciding to look for it, sometimes it takes a few seconds. During the course of the day in which I pratice noticing it, it seems to get quicker and quicker.

And later you ask if there is really a need for looking, if it is hiding. No, it’s not that. I clearly see it, and it is always there when I look so it is not hiding. It feels like a non-focussing, as if I relax my attention (as well as my body). It is like hanging back, a non-involved observing.

The I that tells myself to look is only the thoughts that say ‘look for it’. Sometimes these thoughts are refering to the sense of I in the face, but more and more they are separate from that: I would feel the sense in the face but it is clearly not me.

About the video: what I’m looking for is freedom - freedom from being attached to my thoughts and emotions. And connection to others and to life. Often it feels like I am not part of it, I cannot live the flow of life. (I never really get what is meant by ‘the truth’, sounds very vague and perhaps only understood by those who know it. Is it realizing that the only truth is that everything is false?)

Some quotes in the video that stand out for me:
1. “Seeing the the truth has no benefits for the separate self” - made me think about who is the one that will feel better when suffering subsides. It feels strange to think that there is no one that feels better, that there is only a good feeling. But I guess it will be like that: there is feeling, but that feeling does not need an I.

2. “You don’t need to try to be, to understand. It’s just a matter of noticing what already is”. - this helped me with the questions earlier in this post.

With love.
Micha


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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:00 am

Thanks for reply

Are you aware right now?
Is there ever that you are not aware?
Sense of being = being aware. The content changes, but does being aware stop and come back?

Freedom is often assumed to be freedom from something unwanted. But freedom is TO experience all without making it wrong or unwanted. Freedom to live fully, to feel deeply, whatever emotion is present. See the difference?

And about being connected to life... here is another video for you. Looking from that perspective, are you ever disconnected?
https://youtu.be/LXrfQqvwIcU

Can you become connected to life?
Enjoy exploring.

Love.

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Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:13 am

I am always aware. Whenever I am awake, I perceive things, which means I am aware. When I move my head around, I keep the sense of being, of being aware. That sense does not change, only the content does. But I am not always aware of being aware. And when I am not aware of being aware, I feel I am my bodymind. When I am aware of being aware, I feel more as beingness.

I see the difference you explain about freedom. I think that is what I meant. It is being aware while not being affected or influenced. I mean, emotions are there, but they are no cause for concern; there is no resistance or clinging to them.

Yesterday I was lying on the beach. Eyes closed, listening to the waves, the music, the people and beingness was clearly there. And about connectedness to live; it felt as if I WAS life.

When I say I want to be connected to life, it is my ego talking. When I feel I am conneted to life, I am being. And in the latter case, I cannot become connected to life because I am part of life, not separate from life.

The video shows my connectedness, but I also get very confused about thinking about the drops/forms of water and water as a whole. Is my body the form, or is my higher Self the form which is part of greater being? If I feel that I am life, that implies I am as well my being as that of my friend. But does he not have his own sense of being?
Perhaps this gets back to the sense of identity we spoke about earlier...

Although in this process I start feeling more connected to life and seem to be loosing the strong connection to my bodymind, I get confused about what I should experience. Sometimes, when I am close to someone, I even loose any sense of separation; looking into their face, it feels like I am looking into my own. Is that how it is like, or is that just a random experience?

I WANT to see what is real, but that wanting at the same time keeps me separate from everything. Because there is an I that strongly wants something and is looking out at everything else to see if he is connected. That process only strenghtens the sense of self, it seems sometimes.

With love and a bit of desperation :-)


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Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:59 am

Thank you for your answer.
Yes, that’s right, ego can not get connected to life, and underneath all thoughts there is life, happening, already indivisible.

Let’s take this step. Allow this thought in, play with it and write what comes up immediately when you do that.

There is no separate self at all, never was, never will be, there is no i, none as in zero. There is no manager, no doer, no thinker, no owner of identity, no be-er, there is only aliveness, beingness, that is here now.
All there is is life lowing freely as one reality, expressing itself as everything.

Tell me what reactions show up.

Love.


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