Thank you for the final questions. Here are my responses.
1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No, there isn't. There was never a 'me' that ever did anything.
2) Give in your own words what the illusion of separate self is and how it shows up in experience. Also, through your inquiry, what is different now?
The illusion of the separate self is just an idea, a bunch of thoughts, a bodily energy that gives the impression that a 'me' exists, that it can make decisions etc. The 'me' is a thought-based imposter that claims to being doing, living, choosing etc.
What is different now is that there is an empty space that the continuous barrage of 'me' thoughts once took up, and there is a lightness to life, a joy and wonder. I feel like a little child again, excited, and often smiling and laughing for no reason. Fear and worry and anxiety seem to be fading away. There can be a feeling of a me that returns from time to time, but there it is knowing that it is not real. There is a lot of appreciation and gratitude. The need to get somewhere, achieve something or become someone special is evaporating. This is enough, more than enough. Feelings of compassion and love seem to arise easily and are sometimes overwhelming, and a real connection to "others" and especially to nature is strong. The obsession with past and future has disappeared.
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 is very beautiful yet not what I expected. In a way, I could say that I am more myself than I have ever been. The veil of the false self, full of worry about what others might think, has given way to a natural and beautiful and playful being. There is such a joy in seeing what will come out of this being, and it’s often surprising, and certainly nothing any 'me' could do. Life has become effortless, because there is nobody doing it. Here there is an excitement, and a wish to explore and enjoy everything, even the things that I didn’t like doing much before, such as paperwork.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over; made you look?
It's difficult to pinpoint anything in particular, but there was a recent strong desire to see through the ‘me’. There was a realization that the ‘me’ needs the constant support of thought forms to exist (stories, opinions, memories, self-description). Seeing that thoughts have no power to do anything in themselves, gave way seeing that life just happens, with or without the ‘me’. Also, it was seen that the thoughts came after actions, like a claiming of 'I did that', when clearly the action just happened, as everything does. It’s almost like a gap appeared between actions and thoughts about the actions, or the thought of a ‘me’ doing them. And then losing interest in the thoughts that arose about the actions or the ‘me’ doing them.
a) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work?
Give examples from your own recent experiences to how things happen and how things work.
Right now, breathing is just happening, thankfully. My body is functioning all by itself, and there is no ‘me’ who could digest the food or pump the blood. Thoughts arise all by themselves, from seemingly nowhere, and disappear into nowhere. Getting up and making tea may happen, with or without the thought “I’d like a cup of tea”. Both just spontaneously happen, or not. Whatever thoughts arise about a ‘me’ doing anything are just stories. So, intention and free-will are just ideas that give the impression of a doer. Choosing tea or coffee may arise as a choice, but in the end, either one or the other will be chosen, and there may be an after-thought that arises, “I decided to make a coffee”. There may even be an explanation of why coffee was chosen, but that would just arise as a story and ultimately has nothing to do with the spontaneous action of making coffee.
b) What are you responsible for? Give examples from your own recent experiences to how this works.
This is quite a big one, because part of this 'me' was all about regret for many things in the past, and the way this life has gone. Now I see that it all just happened as it happened, and without a 'me', it couldn't have been any different. And even that is just a story, because all there is, is this that's happening. Without the story, where is past? Did it even happen? Who cares? There was also a big burden of responsibilty for getting life right, doing the right thing. It's really about fear of what might happen in the future - cause and effect. But seeing there's nothing but this, then the sense of responsibilty falls away. Who would be responsible?
6) Anything to add?
Of course, this is not the end; more and more is opening up. There is an excitement, like seeing life as an amazing playground, rather than a just something to get through, which was my experience before. I see people’s serious faces in the street, and I want to invite them to come and play, but they would just think I was crazy 😊.
I'm just very grateful for your help and loving guidance, Luchana.