Seeking Peace

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Sara2
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Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:23 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the "me" I think I am does not exist in reality, but only in thoughts and beliefs. My attachment to and my belief in my identity/ego causes my suffering because I take life personally. For the most part I feel like "no self" exists only as a concept, but have had some experiences where it was more than that.

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking for truth. Of course I want to be free from the pain and suffering that is caused by what I'm thinking and believing all the time, about everyone and everything that I think is happening. I often feel angry and like I have been wronged by other people. I find myself wanting to change and control people in an attempt to make my life more comfortable. I want to know what's true and I don't want to live in this delusion of the personal self trying to find love, happiness and fulfillment in life, because I've become pretty convinced that is never going to happen. I have spent years trying to fix and improve myself and that doesn't seem to work either.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Direction, guidance and redirection. I hope to have someone who can help me look at things differently or give me another perspective. I hope to have some help in questioning my thoughts and beliefs and barriers to me knowing truth.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been following non dual teachers and attending a non dual/self inquiry group for about 8 years. I do Byron Katie's work. I have practiced meditation on and off for years.

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

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:54 pm

Good morning,

My name is Stacy and I can be your guide, if you like. If so, please read the following and confirm that you understand what is asked.

The Work of Byron Katie is excellent preparation for this.

If you haven't already read the disclaimer, please read it now and just confirm to me that you have read it. 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

Some housekeeping guidelines:

1. Post at least once a day, or every second day. If you need more time, or are unable to post for several days, just write a quick post on your thread to let me know please.

2. There is no one judging answers given, so please be100% honest in your answers and inquiry.

3. This exploration is based on actual experience (AE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour and observed thoughts. Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process. There is no ‘self’ to improve.

4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, rituals, practices, books/reading and so on for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily meditation practice, it is fine to continue that but is not necessary for this exploration.

Technology is not perfect and sometimes there is a glitch which can wipe out your responses. It is advisable that you copy and paste questions asked into Word, answer them there and then copy and paste them to your thread. Always save a copy of what you have done, it will save time in the long run!

To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration. In your own words (not from actual experience, but just honest answers), could you please answer the 4 following questions:

How will life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?


Throughout this exploration I would like you to answer all questions that I have written in blue text. Please answer questions individually, remembering to use the quote function to highlight the question being answered.

Watch this video on how to use the Quote Function, please.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

Looking forward to your reply.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:11 pm

Hi Stacy, thank you so much. I would love to have you as a guide. I have read and a understand the disclosures.
How will life change?
I imagine life will look pretty much the same, but the experience of it will be different. I hope to be more present in reality and less in my head imagining the past/future onto every experience. I think life will be less painful and there will be more room for curiosity and playfulness.
How will you change?
I would like to feel more openness to life and less of a desire to resist or control what’s happening. I would be kinder and more loving towards others, because I wouldn’t be taking things personally or in fear of my identity being threatened by others actions. I’d be less self conscious because I’d know there is no one here to protect and no one out there to defend against. I’d be present in each moment and able to experience life instead of just seeing the past/future in everything. I would stop seeking relief from my suffering in other people or things that never bring lasting respite and usually cause more pain later. I would not be constantly dissatisfied. I would be less afraid.

What will be different?

I believe my experience of everything will be different. I’ll experience reality and not what I’m thinking and believing about what’s happening, or projecting the past onto the now. I hope I’ll suffer less and experience more joy.
What is missing?
I know that nothing is missing, but what seems to be missing is the ability to accept life unconditionally and be free from the bondage of the “self” which is always finding something wrong with the current circumstances.

If you’d like me to answer questions with more specific examples, just let me know. I don’t want to speak too broadly but also don’t want to get too much into my stories, unless you feel like that would be more helpful.

Thanks so much for your time. Look forward to talking with you more.

Sara

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:04 am

Hi Sara

it's my pleasure & privilege to guide. Thank *you*

You're replies are fine. Your expectations are relatively reasonable. Just know that we can't predict how it will go. There will still be the same life challenges & at the same time, everything will be different.

You see, we know that the only things that really prevent SEEING no self are expectations & fears. So. we want to get those out on the table first.

What comes up when is read that there is no self & never has been. that it's a completely made-up story, fiction, a lie?

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:33 pm

What comes up when is read that there is no self & never has been. that it's a completely made-up story, fiction, a lie?
A few different things come up. I feel some fear, I think there’s fear around believing or making these concepts into a belief, or just being wrong about it. Part of me feels sad. I feel like I’ve worked so hard on this “self”. I’m attached to my memories and my story. However, I also feel huge relief because that means I could relax and stop trying to fix myself and figure out how to make this self happy all the time and maybe just live, here and now. I feel a sense of spaciousness and freedom.

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:31 pm

Hi Sara,

Wow, excellent "self "awareness. Okay. now this is about how to LOOK & how to reply here.

Colored Socks

There is a big difference between knowing that there is nothing to give up and seeing that there is nothing to give up.

Here is an example to illustrate the difference:

If I ask you what color socks you are wearing right now you have two ways to come up with an answer:

• You can think about it, you can think back to this morning and try to remember putting your socks on, and you can probably tell me what color you think they are.

• Alternatively, you can take a quick look at your socks and tell me what color they actually are!

Hopefully you would agree that you can only be 100% certain by looking.

For the purpose of seeing this "no self" idea, it is very important that you are clear about this difference.

Knowing is about knowledge which is all in the mind and we are not interested in that

We are only interested in looking at and seeing what is actually going on in your present moment-to-moment experience. We are only interested in your Direct Experience in the moment..

Direct or Actual Experience is

Seeing
Hearing
Feeling (Sensation, not emotion. Emotion is Sensation plus made-up thoughts & labels)
Tasting
Smelling
Thoughts Arising (but not their content)


Please let me know if you are clear about this or if you would like any further clarification. I'm pretty sure you've got it.

Loving
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:53 am

Please let me know if you are clear about this or if you would like any further clarification. I'm pretty sure you've got it.
Yes, I’m clear about this. Although the tendency to look to the past for answers is definitely still there. Thank you.

Sara

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:22 am

Hi,

Yes, almost no one gets clear all at once. Usually, we see, then at some point we feel we've "lost it." We haven't. We've just hit some belief we have yet to question.

Near the end we'll fo exercises on Time. Memory & some other details. But first, let's LOOK & do some basics.

One of the reasons I volunteered for you, specifically is that you mentioned The Work of Byron Katie. I'm very glad I had done years of that before I showed up here at LU 4 years ago & went through the Gate. That way of questioning was priceless to ne & may be for you.

Okay, let's try an exercise. We call them "pointers."

Direct Experience - Labeling Daily Activities

Here's an exercise that I would like you to try as many times throughout the day as you can. Label daily activities simply color/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

Direct or Actual Experience is

Seeing
Hearing
Feeling (Sensation, not emotion. Emotion is Sensation plus made-up thoughts & labels)
Tasting
Smelling
Thoughts Arising (but not their content)


So for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/color
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all Actual/Direct Experience) and report back with a list like the one above. Post several of your own observations in a list exactlu like the one above, please.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:21 am

Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:12 am

HI Stacy,

I love that you have experience doing Byron Katie's work too! I have done her work on my own, on and off, for years but more recently started working with a facilitator to help me with some difficult and persistent thoughts. It's been so helpful to me. Though, like you said, at times I feel so clear and other times I seem to get hooked again with the same thoughts I thought I'd let go of. I guess that the problem with thinking and believing there is anything to let go of and a place where I can be free that's not this, here and now.

Anyways, I used this labeling exercise today as much as I could remember to. I just got home from a trip, so I'm just getting around to writing it down now but here is what I observed:
Waking up this morning:
Seeing the room appear, simply = image/color
Feeling the sheets against my skin, simply= sensation
Hearing voices outside my door, simply = sound
Thought about what time it was, simply = thought

Brushing my teeth:
Seeing the toothbruth = image/color
Smelling peppermint toothpaste = smell
Feeling the sensation of the brush on my teeth = sensation
Tasting peppermint toothpaste = taste
Hearing the brushing = sound
Thought about brushing = thought

Sitting on the beach:
Seeing the sand, ocean, people ect = image/color
Smelling the air = smell
Feeling the wind on my skin and in my hair = sensation
Hearing the ocean and voices of people talking = sound
Thoughts about the beach and the people = thought

Walking on the beach:
Seeing my feet on the sand/in the surf = image/color
Smelling the air/salt of the water = smell
Feeling the sand under my feet and the water around my ankles = sensation
Hearing the waves crash and my voice and others voices talking = sound
Thoughts about the conversation I was having = thought

Riding in the car/looking out the window:
Seeing trees, road, other cars = image/color
Smelling the vanilla lotion i just put on = smell
Feeling the seat of the car, holding me = sensation
Tasting the banana taffy I was eating = taste
Hearing voices singing/music = sound
Thoughts about being in the car, the music, the passing images = thought

Washing my hair:
Seeing the bottle of shampoo = image/color
Smelling the scent of the shampoo = smell
Feeling fingers scrubbing my head and water rinsing my hair = sensation
Hearing the water running and fingers scrubbing my head = sound
Thought about washing my hair = thought

Eating salt water taffy:
Seeing the piece of taffy = image/color
Smelling the taffy = smell
Feeling the wrapper in my hand, texture of taffy in my mouth = sensation
Tasting the flavor of the taffy = taste
Hearing the wrapper open, sound of chewing = sound
Thought about eating the taffy = thought

I will continue doing the practice as much as I can. I do see the value in this! Let me know if I should give more examples/different examples.

Thank you

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:51 pm

Hi Sara,

Yes, The Work of Byron Katie is also excellent after you see no self, for cleaning up any corners of things we still believe that are not true.

Those are perfect. Yes, you can practice that whenever you like. Same with all of these exercises.

Can you see how we had to make up everything on the left hand side of the list? Someone had to teach us those. But Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, Tasting, Touching & Thought Arising happen. No one has to tell us that is happening. When you see that there is no self, it will be like finding out that mom & dad are Santa Claus. You will never see reality the same way again. Or like one of those optical illusion drawings, such as the old woman/ young woman here:

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The ... _233626368


Actual/Direct Experience - Apple

Have a look at an apple. If you have a ‘real’ apple, you can use it for this exercise.

https://www.freeimages.com/photo/apple-1562592

When looking at an apple, there's colour; a thought saying ‘apple’; and maybe a thought saying, "I'm looking at an apple."

What is known for sure? Color is known and thoughts are known.

What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?

Actual experience does not refer to thoughts ABOUT something…because that is only just more thought.

Actual experience is sound, thought, color, smell, taste, sensation and the fact of thought arising, but not its content.


Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only color and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?

Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?


While these thoughts are known, what they talk ABOUT can't be found in actual experience.

This is what is meant by "looking in actual experience." What you know for sure, and, is always here.

Taste labeled ‘apple’ is known

Colour labeled ‘apple’ is known

Sensation labeled ‘apple’ is known (when apple is touched)

Smell labeled ‘apple’ is known

Thought about/of an ‘apple’ is known

However, is an apple actually known?

Have fun and let me know what you find out. Oh - and it is essential to be relaxed doing the exercises. Straining and stressing will prevent SEEING.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:07 pm

I do see that the labels on the experience I put on the left side of the list. Someone told me the word that described those objects and now I have created stories around each of those things, from the past, so i think its rare i truly experience them anymore. I just experience the memories of them...

Actual/Direct Experience - Apple
What about the content of thoughts, what they describe?
My thoughts tell me this is an apple, they tell me what kind of apple it is, they show me images of myself buying this apple at the store yesterday and then they think of my past experiences with apples. My thoughts know the color as "red" because I was taught that. My thoughts tell me the texture of the apple is called smooth and the shape is rounded. Thoughts tell me this is a good apple because it does not have blemishes and soft spots. My thoughts remind me of what an apple tastes like based on what the last few apples I ate tasted like.


Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only color and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’?
The "apple" I experience is just a projection of the past. Apple is just a label for the image/color, texture, shape, taste, smell that comes from this object in front of me. The thought "apple" comes with memories and I project them onto this present apple. This apple does not inherently exist as 'apple'. My mind labels it apple and then I don't really experience the apple because it seems like a known thing to my mind.

Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?
So, an 'apple' can not be found in direct experience. The color/image of an apple can be, the smell and taste can be, the texture can be experienced but the thought 'apple' and the content of my thoughts that come after just show me the past, which is not actual direct experience.

Look forward to your insights on this. I really enjoyed doing this exercise. Seems so simple but I realized I realized i haven't really seen an 'apple' in a long time.

Sara

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:00 am

Hi!

Good. You're right. We experience nothing as it is now. Thoughts intervene. That's why Katie says some of the things she does, such as, "No two people have ever met." It us also the way it came to be that, "Reality is kinder than your thinking - but only always."

So, notice what's truer here:

Mind labeling experience

Here is an exercise which examines the way in which the mind labels experience - it takes about 20 minutes and you will need a pen a paper.

This exercise is broken into 10 minute lots. For each 10 minute period pay attention to any bodily sensation ie is there any tightening, or any relaxing?

For the first ten minutes write down what you are experiencing right now using the word “I”.

For example:

I am sitting on a chair,
I am hearing a clock ticking,
I am looking at a computer screen,
I am feeling hungry.

Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just
a plain description of your experience right here and now.

Then for the next ten minutes continue writing down what you are experiencing but this time without using the word “I”. Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs.

For example:

Sitting on a chair,
typing,
breathing,
blinking,
hearing the clock.

(Again, watch what is happening in the body.)

At the end of the twenty minutes compare the two ways in which the experience was labelled and answer the following four questions:

1. Is one truer than the other, and If so, which one?

2. What is here without labels?

3. Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?

4. Did you notice any differences in the body?


Loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:56 am

Mind labeling experience:
1. Is one truer than the other, and If so, which one?
I feel like the second list is the right answer, but I'm not really sure. I look back at the lists the first one implies that "I" am the doer and experiencer or whats happening. I don't believe I am the doer, I can see that, but this body/mind thing experiences what's happening right? My second list is just observing what's happening, without involving the personal self, which now as I type this seems much more true because there is less story and attachment.
2. What is here without labels?
Without the labels it feels like there is just pure experiencing through the senses. As soon as the mind comes in it labels the experience and that happens SO quickly. In the space between experience and mind labeling I almost feel like I melt into everything, its where I see that I'm all of it.
3. Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?
The labels feel like they do both. Without labels how would i describe or attempt to describe what I'm experiencing? They affect the experience because they bring stories, beliefs, opinions ect. For example, while doing this exercise, I could hear my dog in the other room and the mind jumps in and labels and then thinks "he might need to go outside. when was he last outside?. What time is it?. Maybe he's hungry." and on and on.
4. Did you notice any differences in the body?
Yes. During the first part of the exercise I felt much more tension in my body. During the second part I noticed the tension/anxiety and labeled it just that but didn't label it "mine" and I noticed much more relaxation towards the end of the 10 minutes.

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Anastacia42
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Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:05 am

Hi Sara,
now as I type this seems much more true because there is less story and attachment.
It sounds like you talk yourself through to the truth by the end of your answer. Good.
In the space between experience and mind labeling I almost feel like I melt into everything, its where I see that I'm all of it.
Good! That sounds like seeing the truth or reality.

In question 3 where it s asked whether the label affects experience, we are asking does the label change the experience or does the label do anything to the experience?


They affect the experience because they bring stories, beliefs, opinions ect. For example, while doing this exercise, I could hear my dog in the other room and the mind jumps in and labels and then thinks "he might need to go outside. when was he last outside?. What time is it?. Maybe he's hungry." and on and on
Doesn't all of that happen after the experience? Does it actually change what is experienced?

Usually, the 1st part of the experience there is tension. We have to force this story of "I" on the experience.

Usually, during the 2nd part of the experience there's a lot more relaxation because we aren't making up some story of "me."

Do you find this? Check this in your own experience.

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Sara2
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:21 am

Re: Seeking Peace

Postby Sara2 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:43 am

In question 3 where it s asked whether the label affects experience, we are asking does the label change the experience or does the label do anything to the experience?
Ohh. No. The label doesn’t change the actual experience, but it seems to change how I think about the experience or perceive it.
Doesn't all of that happen after the experience? Does it actually change what is experienced?
This happens after the experience, so no.
Do you find this? Check this in your own experience.

I definitely found myself more relaxed during the second part of the exercise.

Am I understanding this correctly now?

Sara


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