1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No. A separate me is a story that appears in thoughts. Human beings live to a greater or lesser extent within the boundaries of the current "me" story. For me I recognise the story is not true but constantly forget at a superficial level throughout busy days. I recognise that the story was never true but am also not free of it. I don't expect to be free of it either.
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.
The illusion of the separate self begins at birth or perhaps conception with the mother and father and society seeing the baby as separate . During early childhood life may be experienced as the oneness but gradually a child is indoctrinated to live life according to the thoughts and cultural beliefs of their environment. We educate the child along the principles that they are separate and their minds are trained to live paying utmost attention to their thoughts rather than the experience of Presence. Layer by layer concepts are introduced and Presence is ignored until pure experience is difficult to recognise. For myself I see the process happening in reverse where layers are being recognised as untrue and sometimes dissolving sometimes softening and losing power.
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.
It feels concerning to see this because I have 5 small grandchildren that are currently being brainwashed into our society's values. For myself it's comfortable, just the process. Before this dialogue I was unaware of the dominance of content of thoughts. I had not seen how quickly labels arise on top of actual experience. I was aware of the field of Presence but less aware than I am now. I KNOW I'm not the old egoic self that I thought I was but still haven't recognised myself as this field of Presence although intellectually I would like to believe it. Belief however is not enough. I want to know. I often become aware of an underlying "Presence" of peacefulness during the day and breathe into this awareness as it nurtures my being.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over; made you look?
I've been looking since I was very young. This call to "know" has become urgent within me over the last few years . Knowing feels like the best gift I can give to my fellow human beings and our planet.
5) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.
I haven't seen this clearly yet only through glimpses. When the ego appears to be faced with a decision life just moves and the concepts of thought create a layer of the illusion of control and choice. Things happen perhaps influenced by conditioning or perhaps totally randomly and thoughts label, explain, tell a story abut "ME."I don't know what makes things happen. Intention is a thought concept. Obviously the ego has an ongoing role with an awakening being and intention seems to be valuable to continue to assist awakening. Intention feels important on the personal level but has no meaning in the Oneness. Free will is a thought concept.The true self has no need of free will. Free from what? As life unfolds I experience.
6) Anything to add?
I am wondering if it's time for you to move on to another seeker?
I am pressuring myself because of your gift of time and guidance eg "I should be awakening faster." That's absolutely not from any pressure from you merely from thoughts but nonetheless I feel it might be more helpful also for me at this time to be more relaxed and observe the openings which are coming in continuing glimpses . I'd like not to sever our connection totally but I don't know the normal protocol?
What do you make of all this Colette? I am deeply, deeply grateful to you for this gift that you have given me. This work is so valuable perhaps especially at this challenging time on our planet when so many are suffering. I am feeling a deepening acceptance and peacefulness as life unfolds. I experience deep and powerful heart openings which may come with a few gentle tears and a flood of love and compassion for anyone or everyone. I hope you are peaceful and healthy on the other side of our beautiful planet.