Not all who wander are lost

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:40 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I take the concept to not-self to mean that the thinking mind has created a sense of self that is not real. This thinking manufacturing of an identity occurs within a space that has no individual identity but is really awareness, or the 'original mind' before conditioning, prejudice and fabricated stories. I believe this but I don't know it.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for guidance. I am strongly drawn to this group. It was chance that led me here, a link on a Buddhist chat forum. I have searched for truth and answers for 20 years. I feel no closer to my goal than when I started, just more able to talk a lot of shit about spirituality. I am looking for a community.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I would like to have someone with which I could share my doubts and fears on my spiritual path. I would like a tough, stern mentor to cut through all my flowery bullshit and tell it to me straight. I expect a guided conversation to provide me with insights and observations from my guides experience.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have dabbled in Hinduism, Shamanism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Bhakti Yoga, Paganism, Nordic Paganism, magic. I have had many mystical and spiritual experiences while in manic psychosis. This has led me to search for answers to how I can be in that state of eternal peace and bliss like when I am crazy without losing my capacity to function in the world. For the last year I have meditated regularly and focused on Buddhism. I am struggling to wrap my head around the concept of anatta-not-self.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:57 pm

Hi bigdaddaomac.

Great to meet you. Thank you for reaching out.
Let’s have this conversation and see where it takes you. You sound ready and determined, that’s a good start.

Take a few deeper breaths and focus on what is presently here.
What is missing? What seems incomplete? What should be different right here right now?

Describe your experience, what happens when you ask each of the questions? What arises? How does it feel in the body?

With love.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:55 am

Hi Ilona, thanks again for this opportunity. When I check in with myself on what is happening internally I can feel periods of calm and peace especially when I remember to cultivate Bhakti loving devotion and focus on my breathing. But I know from experience this is not permanent. The kids will do something that shits me or I will have a petty squabble with my wife or there will be a crisis at work and then all my much nurtured and cultivated equanimity will be gone. I will be lost in my thoughts. And the worst part is a part of me is aware that I have become lost and I feel so disappointed in myself. Afterwards I tear the situation apart trying to figure out where I went wrong, where I slipped. I suppose I am missing certainty. I have practiced a few paths and have ended up straddling Thai Forest Buddhism and Bhakti yoga as learned through Ram Dass. Two very different paths that both call to me. When I feel my heart get full thinking of Guru Neem Keroli Baba the I feel safe and nurtured and innocent but my mind sneaks in and fucks it up. That's why the Thai Forest Tradition appeals because it is so austere, no-nonsense and relentless. I guess I still feel incomplete because on a bad day it can be like I never did any practice at all. What is incomplete is the sense that I have arrived, that my work is done. I still harbour doubts about my method of practice. I still buy spiritual books looking for that final piece of the puzzle. I feel tense, defensive and irritable when I consider these questions. I feel embarrassed that I haven't 'got there' yet. I have noticed in the last day after reading 'Buddha on the Bull' that's asking myself 'who am I?' really opens up space in my awareness. I'm really looking forward to the next step.
Kind regards,
Oly

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:25 am

Thank you for sharing honestly. Let’s agree on some points.
From now on, till we finish this conversation, i would ask to stop reading everything about nonduality or awakening, stop watching videos and compare how your experience should be. Reading books is entertaining, but it also creates expectations as you compare your experiences with others and it seems that something is missing. What other people can share is their experience, which is unique and incomparable to yours. So let’s leave others experiences aside and focus on what is true for you.

Somewhere you picked up an idea, that if you do practice, then you will always be at peace and when that does not work, you feel disappointed. Well, it’s the same like saying if I will pray rightly, there will always be sunshine and no clouds, rain, storm can come. And when weather changes then you blame yourself for not doing the prayer correctly or not enough or there is something wrong with you. See, it’s just like that. Weather changes. Life continues. Ups and downs, peace and chaos — happen freely. So it’s not your fault. It’s not in your control. It’s not something to try to change. You practice for the joy of it, not for making things change.

The bad days are here as a gift. How come? Stuff that is still unresolved comes up to be seen. The usual way is to try to fix it, run away, deny, blame yourself and so on. The other way is to meet it. Meet it fully, so it can be seen, the message can be delivered and heard, so the pain becomes the path. Meaning that what you think is an obstacle is really a path to more peace. Only by meeting the contraction it can relax and expand. I talk about this more in my video here https://youtu.be/JjInaOA328M

So the next step is let go of all the teachings and focus on you alone.

Write what comes up for you.

Love.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:09 pm

Hi Ilona I hope this finds you well. I can wholeheartedly agree to not exposing myself to any material on awakening or non-dualism. I think I am beginning to understand how detrimental it is to repeatedly follow others spiritual journeys. I feel like I have a head full of ideas of what should happen and these ideas are holding me back.

It's so true that I have an ideal of myself as a spiritual person and a lot of that involves denying or locking down what I perceive to be 'negative' or 'un-spiritual' thoughts and feelings. Some times I even fell stuck for what to do or say because I am so busy trying to find the perfect enlightened behaviour.

I just watched the video you recommended. WOW! Thanks for really clear and straightforward practice guidelines. What is incredible about watching this vid is how it puts into context what happened to me recently. About two weeks ago I started getting a really sore neck during meditation which became aggravated when I experienced frustration or repressed anger during my day to day life. At night there was pain in my lower back and my body would contort and that pain would connect to my neck up my spine. I would spend hours trying not to wake my wife as my body writhed and pain danced up my body. Eventually, exhausted, I got the idea to go into the pain. I would hold a pose where the pain was extreme and just go into it. It got worse and worse. Agonising. Eventually it would release and painfull feelings of various tones would arise. Feelings of fear of being bashed by bullies as a kid, feelings of being pinned down and injected in psyche wards and left in solitary. Feelings of shame around sex. Feelings of rage. All these feelings came from pain held in different parts of my body. Eventually after doing this for three nights without sleep a massive wave of love crashed out of my heart and pushed the pain blockage around my neck to the top of my head which buzzed delightfully. Since then I feel a lot more lighter, my meditation posture has changed and synchronous events led me to Liberation Unlimited.

Today I was off work so I was home-schooling my two girls, Daisy-7 and Freya-6. Previously I have struggled to get the girls to complete their work without losing my temper. This morning I felt the familiar frustration rising as I tried to get them organised. I started asking myself 'who is frustrated?' and 'where is the 'I' that is feeling this'. I sat with this and ended up making pancakes and having a nice breakfast. I noticed fear of my wife's disapproval if we didn't complete many lessons for the day creeping in and I repeated the process. it worked a bit but I could feel those worry thoughts hovering and caught myself checking the time and planning how much more we could get done.

At the park there was an attractive woman walking past and I did a double look. Since practicing meditation regularly I have come to loathe and despise this previously unconscious habit of checking out attractive women. I feel so base and carnal. Again I have an ideal of being pure and detached. The more aware of it I have become the more I struggle with not being impacted. Either I rigorously avoid looking at the woman or I practice the Thai asubha meditation of imagining them as merely flesh and bones. When I look again in a sexualised way I feel terrible. Today I wondered 'where is the 'I' that is attracted to this lady. Things opened up. She became part of the landscape. I felt much more peaceful.

One thing this process hasn't worked for is greed. I struggle to be mindful when I eat. It's like my body takes over and my awareness is lost in the feasting.

It feels kind of weird to be this honest about deeply personal stuff but I trust you and I trust this is for good. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks as all ways.

Oly.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:37 am

Thank you for openness and honesty. It’s a good start to leave all the teachings on hold and look at what is happening in your own experience. And as you can notice, you are already in a process of undoing :) trust that all is unfolding as it should.

When you say word I, what does this word refer to? What this I is made of? Can you see, hear, touch, sense, feel, taste, smell it?

Describe

Love.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:51 pm

Dear Ilona, long ago I subscribed to a spiritual ideal that 'I' am really divine love separated from source by a sense of self. This belief is more believable when I am grounded, centered and equanimous. When the shit hits the fan it feels very far away.

The Thai Forest practices recommend looking for 'me, myself and mine' by mentally dissecting the body into all it's constituent parts and trying to identify where the self is located. I used to get a bit of a buzz doing this practice. But there was still an 'I' that was getting a kick out of the concept of the practice. When I think of 'I' I realise that it is really just the sense of urgency attached to a projection into the past, future or what others might be thinking of me. I guess when it comes down to it the nature of 'I' is fear or lacking. Sometimes I think of something and suddenly I am spiraling into the worst case scenario of what could happen. I can almost feel my sense of self getting high, like an addict, on the terrible drama I am playing out for myself in my own head.

I think this 'I' is made of that sense of fear and lacking urgently leaping onto thoughts and emotions and convincing anyone who will listen how real they are. When I try to think deeper I guess my 'I' started to become 'real' when I was a little kid and I was trying to fit in and get approval and I constructed a way of being to do this. I don't know if I had an 'I' when I was a baby. Although I remember my kids definitely had powerfully different and unique vibes when they were babies.

I see my reflection in the mirror and that feeds my sense of 'I'. I've often stared real close into the reflection of my eyes trying to see my soul, haven't seen it yet. My 'I' gets activated by how other's 'see' me, positive or negative. I think I see my 'I' playing out in negative behaviour patterns that I repeat involuntarily.

I don't know which thought voice I hear is my 'I'ness. Some thoughts seem more unsubstantial like clouds other times two points of view will argue in my mind. I don't know which is my 'I'. Maybe they all are. Sometimes I speak from the heart with no thought and what comes out feels different, better.

I can't touch my 'I' but I recognise that my 'I' is very touchy. By that I mean very sensitive, insecure.

When I search inside to sense 'I' it feels slippery, amorphous. Like it jumps from thought to thought ahead of my searching spotlight. Conversely the sense of 'I' can fill my being with fear, insecurity and need.

I feel my 'I' most strongly when I do something good that gets recognised by others. I get a sort of puffed up, inflated sense of myself. Shame, guilt and regret are also strong ways I feel with 'I'.

For me greed is the taste of 'I'. I want more and I want to stuff myself. It is tied into the craving to experience the world through the senses.

When I think of the smell of 'I' it brings to mind body odour. The smell of my body if it hasn't been washed in a while. 'My' smell.

Love and thanks,
Oly.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Sun Sep 06, 2020 2:25 pm

Dear Oly,
Thank you for replying in full. Let’s explore..
'I' am really divine love separated from source by a sense of self.
This is not a good believe to have. It talks about separation from the source. But nothing is separate from the source. Here is a video that may give you a different angle to look at this. https://youtu.be/LXrfQqvwIcU

So what you are saying is this:
I is made of fear and urgency. But fear and urgency is not I. It’s fear and urgency.
I gets activated and is playing out negative behaviours. That’s reactivity, an automatic response to pain or praise. That’s not I.
There is voice in the head talking, but that voice is not I. It is talking about I.
There is no touching I. No smelling I.
Let’s see..
the i is imagined and added on experience as a subject of a story.
Is it possible that there is no i? That it’s only a concept? A thought?
One way to find out is to look for yourself.
There is no i, is that true? Would anything be lost if that is true?

Write what comes up
Love.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:59 pm

Greetings Ilona, well it's been a weird and wonderful couple of days! Whenever I catch myself in fear mode or resisting what is happening at the moment I immediately start asking myself what 'I' is experiencing this (fear, resentment, anxiety etc.). I have found an amazing thing happens where thoughts keep tumbling around but they are not as connected to my experience of reality. In fact weirdly the less I focus on things the more deeply I seem to experience them. There is an inter-connectedness permeating life. I cried deeply and profoundly at the thought of my mum today. It felt like the whole world was crying with me in joy.

I am a peer support worker at a youth residential unit and usually I have a background tension as most of the young people I work with regularly self-harm and try to kill themselves. Today I was able to recognise those background anxieties and tried to find what 'me' was worried. I ask myself 'who am I?' whenever I feel thoughts taking me for a ride. I had the best day. It's like I saw these young people for the first time. I saw them as they are, not how 'I' think they are. It was weird I got all my paperwork done and performed all my tasks without strain or effort. Everything just fell into place with perfect timing. Everything felt so easy and joyful. And sometimes my thoughts were fast and sometimes they were quiet but they were just like a babbling brook, background static. And it is really noticeable when I become the thoughts and I get lost into the spiral of bullshit 'self'.

Ilona does this process happen irrevocably with a bang that forever changes you or can it happen incrementally? I mean is it possible that I am getting a taste of it or am I still deluding myself with an intellectual fantasy. Because it doesn't feel intellectual. It feels like I am there, or should I say here. Riding the razors edge of nowness. But then I slip out of it and have to intellectually convince myself to let go of my intellectualness to get back in. Oh my god the paradox's I observe in the mental thought stream. In the car on the way to work I was laughing hysterically, the trees were swaying in the wind and I felt like the universe was driving me driving the car. It was glorious.

I've also noticed that I'm not really listening to people, or should I say I don't spend my time trying to think of what to say in response. It's like my body and mind go quiet and they talk and then it feels like it is my turn to speak and suddenly I have something to say. And it seems to be an appropriate thing to say. It was a bit scary the first few times this happened. Kind of like a leap of faith.

Ilona I feel so profoundly grateful to you for taking a chance and working this process with me. I would say I will be forever in your debt but I know there is no me or you for debt to exist. (Not-self joke).

Very much looking forward to your reply.
Love,
Oly.

P.S I loved the video about water.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:40 am

Lovely to read your message. Sounds like unraveling is in process. Trust that all is revealed in a due time, in perfect timing, in perfect way for you.
Riding razors edge of newness. :) nicely said.

look at experience that is happening g now. Are you doing it or is it a happening? What is not happening on automatic?

Love.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:29 am

Dearest Ilona. There is so much to say. Or rather nothing to be said.

Clouds, stream,
bubble, bubble toil and trouble,
gratitude is a loving lens
that reveals perfection in the dog shit this self must honorably attend to.

I still have a few moments were I don't feel I'm fully 'cooked'. I can feel being caught and dragged back into my sense of self. It doesn't last long but it feels like a bloody universe of woes is waiting for me there!

Thank you so much. You are doing great work. Can I offer you money?

Huge love,
Oly.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:41 am

Wonderful! You have the rest of your life to cook fully :)
There is no done. Life continues and those situation that you feel like being dragged in are here to be seen and self-release. How otherwise. Thinking that one look can finish off years and years of conditioning is not realistic. All unfolds in due time and all that is still hidden, still unconscious will surface and that an opportunity for you to heal.
How is your normal every day life? What has changed and what hasn’t? What is most surprising?

Love.
Ps. Thank you so much for offering money. I would gratefully accept this as a help toward the costs of running this forum. But we can do this later, if you still feel like. For now let’s focus on what is going in for you.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:18 am

Hi Ilona. I had a truly magical day at work yesterday. It felt like i could tell whenever I had the urge to 'do' something or 'make' something happen. I keep asking myself 'who am I?' Then if I go into 'thinking' reality I can kind of trick myself into letting those thoughts keep going but also at the same time be what I sense in my body what I observe in my immediate environment and how I sense all of reality unfolding is at that moment.

I hung out with the young people in the house and we listened to mantras, did tie dyeing and went for walks in the park, I teach kung fu and tai chi and the energy was so playful. It was joyful and easy and natural. There is a line in the Enlightened Quotes app. that keeps surfacing in my mind. Something about 'letting go of the steering wheel and letting everything burn'. I dig that!

When I got home all was good. My kids seemed brand new and deeper and more vast than I had ever noticed. I was having a bath when my wife walked in. She was using the computer and came across this thread and read it. She was deeply distressed. It triggered concerns about my metal health and trust issues from when I had been unfaithful in the past. At that moment I felt fearful of how hard things were going to be between us. I kept letting go defensiveness and argumentativeness as best I could. It was a tense evening. This morning things were still troubled. I listened to my wife express her feelings and suddenly something shifted in me and I felt her pain. A deep compassion filled me and I cried. Later I was in the back yard and the spring blossoms blowing in the wind were so beautiful that it felt like my heart cracked and I silently howled with the perfect perfectness of it all. Then I cried in the shower. I cried for all 'my' suffering and all the suffering I caused others. When these extremely cathartic crying sessions were happening that was a part of me that was unaffected, a void, an emptiness. Knowing this was there allowed me to go deeper into pain.

It is spring in Melbourne, the weather is fine. For the first time in my life I have a sense of peace. No wait, peace IS.

Thanks you as always,
love Oly.

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7911
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby Ilona » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:04 pm

Dear Oly.
Thank you for sharing, it was touching to read about how your heart opened and you felt compassion for your wife. How are you feeling now? What do you notice and see different? What hasn’t changed?
Is there still seeking? If so, has it diminished or increased? Do you have a burning question?

Here are some check points for you, explore what comes up when you ask these questions and write to me.

I hope being on this forum is ok with your wife.

With love.

User avatar
BigDaddaOmac
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:39 pm

Re: Not all who wander are lost

Postby BigDaddaOmac » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:52 pm

Good morning Ilona, the birds are chirping in the pre-dawn and it is very still. I am feeling very soluble. Like shifting sands. I keep catching my self being 'me' thinking 'me' but then who is catching? And it just drifts, flows like a dream. It feels magical. Wherever I look I seem to see things for the first time. I feel the love of my Guru pouring into me, out of me, through me, filling me. I can almost stop breathing and just be that peaceful, ecstatic joyful love.

My wife and had an incredible day where we were completely honest with each other. We shared everything. It was very powerful, cathartic and connecting.

I keep getting passages from the tao te ching popping up in my head. I see my sense of self caused me every problem I ever had. No self=no problems!!! I notice that things just want to be left alone without me judging, labeling and trying to control them. Let it go.

Seeking is still present in an abstract, auto-pilot kind of way. I no longer care, just kind of innocently curious.

I keep thinking of a line by Huang Po. 'Be still. Do nothing'. Enough said.

I think my burning questions are burning themselves up.

Ilona thank you so much. A thousand, thousand thanks.

Love,
Oly.


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests